Akira Kosemura – Tiny Musical – 3.5/5
When my cravings for picopop subsides I find myself reaching for something a little more, shall we say relaxing. It is this gentle combination of electronic synths, slightly fuzzed out piano melodies and organic acoustic guitars allowed to resonate throughout that form the simple but effective formula implemented in this Tokyo musician’s aptly titled release; the influence the likes of Eno’s “Music for Airports” has had upon this albums overall atmosphere quite apparent, even if the manner things are done is rather different.
Whereas Eno would have a strong focus on the synths, utilising other instruments to supply the variation, here he will often have the same melody repeated from all the instruments, resulting in a sound that tires very quickly. It was Eno himself, the genre’s godfather who once stated that ambient should be as readily ignored as listened to intently, and whilst Kosemura is more prominent and thicker in layering the atmosphere, it is on certain tracks (e.g. ‘Seaside’ or ‘Shorebird’) that the repetition becomes too much, showing us his weakness.
Yet this flaw isn’t always the case, at other times he switches to demonstrate what feels like his real musical passion in his neo-classical piano work, rawly produced to allow every imperfect detail majestically come forward, simple melodies slowly gliding with a certain delicate precision that never fail to demonstrate a powerful emotion capable of contending with the best. He never allows the music to settle into the background quite as easily as some – a fact which suits me just fine – but there are sadly almost as many times where rather than feel the atmosphere coming through loud and clear, it just feels like a repeated loop that whilst doesn’t become frustrating, becomes difficult to pay attention to.
At under an hour, for all its repetition and slow melancholy, it never feels off time; never rushed nor extended beyond what is required, with both a clear beginning and an end resulting in a feeling of completion or solidarity to the end result. The tracks are different enough from one another to stand alone yet there is still a remarkable cohesion between them. Ultimately this remains one primarily for the ambient fans; the high points are genuinely impressive, capable of hypnotically sending you into a trance-like state only for the lows to let your mind wander to other things.
Highlights: Departure, Light Dance, Moon, Smile