sketch

by ironomi

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  • CD + Art Book (Limited Last Copies)
    Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    14.0 x 13.5 x 0.8cm, 32 pages hardcover book, offset printed, full color on uncoated paper

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about

“On a summer’s day, there was an artist sketching the chorus of insects, sketching them using his sense of hearing, adding various colors to a white canvas”

ironomi’s delicate field recordings capture the tangible atmosphere of a specific time and place. “sketch” is a live improvisation recorded in the summer of 2007 in a very old wooden house atop a hill in Mashiko, a town in Japan’s Tochigi prefecture known for its close association with some of the country’s leading ceramic artists and pioneers of the mingei (folk art and craft) movement, such as Shoji Hamada. By straddling both ambient classical music and documentary recording, ironomi created a “folk craft” album of their own – a pastoral reverie inspired by Mashiko’s shaded bowers and fitting dragonflies.

“sketch” attempts to conjure something of the glaring light and torpid air of a Japanese summer using sound alone. The titles of these compositions invoke a literal kind of emotional color – specific nuances associated with the unique hue of summer insects, or the underside of leaves in the shade. The names of these colors belong to a romantic, anachronistic vocabulary found in literary works that date from the Heian period (794-1185), like Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book.

Junya Yanagidaira’s sparkling piano arpeggios – looping insistently on top of themselves, reverberating gently against the ambient whirr and hiss of the frolicking cicadas – evoke the drowsy languor of a midsummer afternoon, of being held captive to a riot of insects nesting in the thick clumps of foliage on the trees outside. Indoors, you languish in a sort of blissful daze, enjoying the occasional moment of cool relief brought inside by an errant breeze. Using real-time sampling and processing through self-made patches on his laptop, Yu Isobe transforms Yanagidaira’s uttering phrases into something altogether darker on “uraha-iro” – a sinister pastoral drone that simmers ominously against the inescapable clamor of the chattering insects. In their own words, “sketch” is a sonic portrait of “a summer’s whispers” – a poetic, meditative soundtrack that records microscopic nuances of the atmospheric elements particular to this season.

“sketch” is available on CD + Artbook and digital formats on 1st December 2011. The physical CD copy comes in 32 pages hardcover artbook edition featuring photography by April Lee, taken in the immediate surroundings of the recording site in Mashiko City (Tochigi, Japan) in the late summer of 2009. Artbook is professionally offset printed on the new Maple Bright premium matt paper stock, courtesy of RJ Paper of Singapore. Maple Bright is FSC and PEFC certified environmentally friendly. Limited to an edition of 1000 copies only.

credits

released December 1, 2010

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KITCHEN. LABEL Singapore

Record label and publishing house since 2008.

A bit like the roving eye of the flâneur in Baudelaire, who found solace in the bittersweet juxtapositions of urban life, Kitchen. Label documents momentary flickers of melancholic beauty in unlikely environments.

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