Lo Recordings 2005
With 'Sakura' Susumu Yokota earned himself a lifetime of indulgence, free to mine ever more obscure territories safe in the knowledge he had left behind an actual-factual masterpiece. Then this comes along. A collaboration between Yokota and the fabulous Rothko, 'Distant Sounds of Summer' is without a shadow of a doubt the most readily accessible output from either artist and (best of all) neither seems to have compromised their artistic integrity. The kind of expansive music that could bring out the Keats in anyone, the blokes are further bolstered by the mellifluous tones of Caroline Ross on vocals; adding a wonderfully human touch to the aural paroxysms. Opening with 'Deep In Mist', a padded hip-hop beat is gently washed over by delicate piano and ponderous bass that is sugar sweet without even threatening to become saccharine or cloying. As if this weren't beautiful enough, Ross then delivers a vocal which seems to beam in direct from some angelic crystalline plain, weaving ethereal calm around a palpable depth which can't help but coax you ever deeper into the music. Elsewhere a similar beatific veneer is given to the insistence chants of 'Waters Edge', 'Sentiero' combines Yokota's love of traditional percussive elements with surging tides of honeyed soundscapes, whilst 'Reflections and Shadows' even manages to get away with the dreaded dead-pan vocal prose without seeming like introspective clap-trap. Aren't the nights drawing in...
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