Hope: In Piano Gestures and Glitches, a Gorgeous Free Compilation from Japan

By ajcolores

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kaiwa; from mitsuru shimizu on Vimeo.

Quietly melancholic piano gestures and reversed piano hammer strokes collide like waves against glitch-infused rhythms in hope3.0, the output of elementperspective. The “sound & design label” from Osaka weaves together a diverse group of promising Japanese artists, showing in many cases sonic maturity that belies their young average age.

The balance between minimal, glittering piano prettiness and raw, digital rhythms is perfectly on evidence in the music video at top, for Mitsuru Shimizu’s triumphant “kaiwa;” – a real highlight of the set. The photographer and self-described “sound proposer” produces visuals and sounds alike here.

“Hope” is a fitting title for this, the latest (and, sadly, “final”) of three in the free series. There’s a sense of hope emerging from reflection, of transcendent optimism. In delicate ambiences and sometimes glowingly-upbeat textures, the music is perpetually inclined to the positive.

True to the design side of the label, you get a set of visual accompaniments in addition to the free music. There are extensive liner notes with details on the artists, plus lock screens and wallpapers for iOS gadgets and desktop computers. This includes the cover image, by Risa Ogawa, a 25-year-old image and textile artist who “expresses on the theme of infection what is not visible and feeling.” The ring of red you see is produced in cotton and nylon.

“Japan is full of hope,” reads the liner notes for the PDF. Listening to the mix, so am I.

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Found via the wonderful, intelligent INQ Mag, which for me has become about the best way to find out what’s happening in the netlabel scene. (And yes, if you don’t believe there’s still a lively netlabel scene, start reading INQ. You might change your mind. Bandcamp forever.)

For good measure, another fragile, lovely video punctuated with piano and lo-fi film imagery, also by Mitsuru Shimizu.

h from mitsuru shimizu on Vimeo.

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