Album: A Little Something
Here's a beautiful little compilation of Japanese ambient music, organised and compiled by musician Izumi Misawa. The focus of the compilation is mainly on ambient artists from Japan, such as Moskitoo, Filfla, Small Color, Paniyolo, etc. offering up new tracks from all artists, making this a very worthwhile purchase. All of the proceeds from the album go directly to helping victims of the earthquake, via the Think the Earth Project, allowing listeners to donate however much they'd like to the project.
Aside from simply being a charity project, A Little Something features some of the best recent work by each artist, with Small Color's contribution in particular striking me as one of their best pieces to date. With a refreshing range of sounds, the compilation darts and dives through the more low-key side of the Japanese underground; double-bassist Hiroki Chiba provides a gorgeous 12-minute piece of droning, skipping electro-acoustic tones that swirl in a reverent, lulling underwater waltz; Filfla's track "Joyful" is just that, a bouncy mix of acoustic guitars, glockenspiels, glitching acoustic percussion and even some hardcore influences, with crunching riffs that sound strangely at home.
Amidst this abundance of highlights, Small Color and Moskitoo both put down what are in my opinion, two of the best works by either artist to date; Small Color's track is just what one would expect from the group, a heart-wrenchingly nostalgic five minutes of toy instruments, banjo, electronics and stuttering drum patterns. Moskitoo's piece is a dark, solemn, acoustic ballad. The vulnerability of her raw, unaffected voice is set against a backdrop of one minimally plucked guitar while field recordings shoot around, shaking one's field of vision and creating a disorientation that orbits around Yamasaki.
Rarely do opportunities come along when it is possible to give something and take something in such a profound way. A Little Something is a chance to give to a good cause, and to enjoy some of the best music from Japan's ever-growing ambient underground.
1) Filfla - Joyful
2) Yoshio Machida - Skating
3) Kuricorder Quartet - Come Again
4) Paniyolo - Landscape
5) Small Color - Hibi
6) Trico! - Katahare
7) Hiroki Chiba - Serenade for Daybreak, That Seen From Freeway
8) Yoshifumi Asa - Requiem 0311
9) Miroque - Kokoro
10) Itoken x Izumi Misawa - Libra (Remix)
11) Naoya Izumi - Ocean Meadow
12) 34423 x Izumi Misawa - Flowing
13) Moskitoo - Night Hike