Yutaka Hirose

Trace: Sound Design Works 1986-1989

WRWTFWW • 2022

In a way, it’s great.  A new word is coined and already there’s a new style of music. In this case »Japambient«.  This includes the sound design from Japanese artists such as Yutaka Hirose.  And ambient from Japan it certainly is.  More important to Hirose, however, than the idea of ambient as floating sounds (or wallpaper of sound) seems to have been his colleague Satoshi Ashikawa’s concept of »music as a landscape«, in which the Japanese ambient pioneer in turn appropriated the theory of »soundscapes« by Canadian composer R. Murray Schaefer.  Following in the footsteps of Ashikawa, whose 1982 ambient classic »Still Way« remained his only album until his untimely death, Yutaka Hirose literally spreads the sounds across the room in the pieces collected on the compilation »Trace:  Sound Design Works 1986-1989«, making them seem as if they had been thrown down or have spontaneously sprouted. »Trace« is the second record released by Hirose’s Swiss label We Release Whatever the Fuck We Want, after they reissued his 1986 album »Nova« three years ago.  This time it’s previously unreleased works that followed »Nova«, a whole hour and a half of material.  Hirose’s interest in free jazz and freely improvised music can be guessed at, even if he sees his approach as »sculpting time through sound«, which would rather suggest a static approach.  The opposite is the case, his spatially conceived electronic sounds and occasional field recordings are dynamic in a very respectful way.  You can call it Japambient, but it remains to be seen whether that helps you to imagine what awaits you on »Trace«.