“Music is liquid architecture; Architecture is frozen music.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The relation of sound and architecture has been a recurring theme across the centuries. The earliest examples of sound design stem from the interaction of human voice and various architectural spaces used for worship and ritual. It is these sonic reflections on ritual that are at the root of the latest edition from Japanese ambient maestro Chihei Hatakeyama.
Recorded over the period of five years, Mirage is a meditation on the phenomenology of music and architecture. During a field trip to Turkey, Hatakeyama became acutely aware of how architecture shapes sound and through doing so effects the very nature of music’s resonance. This condition extends beyond the personal into the collective, creating a certain condition of aurality that operates at a societal level.
Walking through the labyrinthine bazaars of Turkey, Hatakeyama took inspiration from the way sounds emerged and decayed within those spaces. Looking to replicate these experiences in the creation of the album, he developed a series of new processes and transformations that expanded his approach to textural music. Weaving in location based field recordings from the visited spaces, the record began to take on a hazy abstruse quality; the unfamiliar familiar.
Well, what is the album – yes, it is an ambient album. But, it is an ambient album of note.
There are all the things you associate with ambient music which makes the release reassuringly familiar. But, at the same time, there is a jarring unfamiliarity posed by the field recordings – foreign tongues and abstract ambience. As the name suggests, Mirage is about the apparent phenomena that exists only in our perception. Like a strong memory, which can feel so very present yet remain intangible, Hatakeyama’s music on Mirage maintains a lucid but utterly transcendent quality. This music is just right.