CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA is one of those sonic voyagers who have the muse whispering seemingly constantly.
He’s one of those artists, like The Fall, Sun Ra, John Dwyer and the spiral arm of Thee Oh Sees/Oh Sees/Osees, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, who who produce, produce, always have an album due, a musical iron in the fire, a dizzying catalogue.
A Japanese ambient electronica scion whose beautiful longform blurs touch into the seasons, the elements, shoegaze, more. Deep immersion in a field in which many people are creating, he still has a feel and a musical fingerprint I think entirely his own.
Since his debut full-length album, Minima Moralia, which came out on Kranky in 2006, he’s since released more than 70, yep, 70 albums for labels such as Lawrence English’s Room 40, with a huge body of work coming out on his own White Paddy Mountain label. No Use Your Illusion-style elephantine gestation here.
It is, by any measure, a mighty old canon; but the more important thing is that the quality and consistency of Chihei’s output is stunning.
His latest album (having only released what? five last year) is entitled Late Spring, and arrives with us roundabout the right time for the title, in early April; perhaps more precisely calibrated in the Japanese system, which eschews our fuzzy quartet for 72 microseasons, as Tsubame kitaru: ‘swallows return’.
Today, by way of announcement, he’s dropped a first track from Late Spring, “Sound Of Air”; which has the kind of actual cherubic drift and glide of Cocteau Twins’ masterpiece Victorialand – I mean, that’s high praise and absolutely no hype at all. There’s moments where you’d be convinced that’s Robin Guthrie playing, adrift in the memory bliss of mistily verdant synth. Listen for yourself on our embed, down at the end there.
For the first time, Chihei has teamed with London analogue pressing specialists and expert jazz crate-diggers Gearbox Records for this release: 200-gramme heavyweight vinyl? Gonna sound delicious, rich, wonderful.
Look out for our review of that album come the dawning of April 5th; it’s truly beautiful.
Chihei Hatakeyama Late Spring will be released by Gearbox Records digitally, on CD with obi strip and on heavyweight (200g) vinyl with obi strip on April 9th; you can order yours from Gearbox here.