Review

Chihei Hatakeyama

Hachirogata Lake

Field • 2023

Tracks that flow like a babbling brook – that is the sound of Japanese musician Chihei Hatakeyama’s album. On Hachirogata, the Tokyo-based artist archives his surroundings and infuses them with a touch of spherical-sounding drunkenness. The setting for this dreamy acoustic is a lake in northern Japan, which also gives the album its name. The artist has been regularly releasing new albums since 2006, and »Hachirogata« is his 87th work. This offers deep insights into Hatakeyama’s productivity and ambition, as this year alone has already seen the release of two albums showcasing his purist skills. And even though this is the third time in a row this year that he has gone through the frantic motions of releasing an album, this in no way detracts from his dedication and passionate nuance for this album. Chihei Hatakeyama sets his sights on the individual facets of the water and dresses them in a garment of two-dimensional pads and minimalist sound paintings. His flair for the aquatic ambience is transformed into a meditative experience on »Hachirogata«, one that conveys a sense of infinite vastness and artfully preserves the atmosphere of nature and water. Without too much fanfare or overly polished samples, Chihei Hatakeyama manages to create a thoroughly minimalist ambient album – puristically beautiful, in fact.