Dream Dolphin

Gaia: Selected Ambient & Downtempo Works 1996-2003

Music From Memory • 2023

In the mere space of eight years that this compilation draws from, Noriko has released 20 albums under the name Dream Dolphin. Anyone who wants to hear them all will find it difficult: The fact that it is only available on CD makes the Japanese artist’s corpus of works difficult to find. Thank God for Eiji Taniguchi. The close friend of the gold diggers from Music From Memory owns the Dream Dolphin material, decided to sift through it and put together this surreal selection of 15 tracks. The title »Gaia: Selected Ambient & Downtempo Works 1996-2003« reveals the genres we are dealing with, but prepares us inadequately, if at all, for the emotional depths to which Dream Dolphin plunges. 

The second track »Stars« captivates the listener after just a few seconds and seems to be heavily inspired by an even more prominent dolphin: Ecco from the classic SEGA video game, the soundtrack to which is still regarded as a milestone today. Noriko speaks and sings as well, such as on »Voyage (Dive To The Future Sight)«, one of the most exciting tracks on this compilation. Uplifting choruses, gentle, wavering drumming, softly hushed vocals and a subdued melodic climax at the end. »Iruka Tachi To Asonda Kioku/Under Water«, on the other hand, packs a punch that incorporates trance and new age elements and would be back up high on the playlist at one or the other forest and meadow rave. Stylistically, an extremely variable underwater work that, as already mentioned, has far more to offer than the label suggests.