FJORDNE & Stabilo: Andrew
Sound In Silence

Issued in a limited run of 150 handmade and hand-numbered copies, Andrew sees solo artists FJORDNE (Fujimoto Shunichiro) and Stabilo (Yasutica Horibe) sharing a twenty-minute split release featuring four tracks in total. They're a natural pair, not so much because both hail from Japan (Shunichiro from Tokyo, Horibe from Hiroshima) but for their overlapping sensibilities; both have been producing laptop-based material for many years and seen material appear on labels such as U-Cover and White Paddy Mountain. All four settings reflects their creators' sensitivity to texture and micro-detail, and it's not uncommon for field recordings and acoustic and electronic elements to blend within their ambient-soundscaping designs.

Though only three minutes long, FJORDNE's charming title track oozes nostalgic warmth through ever pore; to achieve the effect, Shunichiro speckles elegant acoustic piano shadings with percussive tinklings and tiny pops of static and noise. In “As Well,” the first of his two Stabilo contributions, Horibe embeds minimal piano chords and percussive noises of his own within a churning ambient mass, with the inclusion of the latter lending the piece an epic quality downplayed by Shunichiro in his opener.

The second FJORDNE setting, “Aquainted” [sic], reestablishes the nostalgic tone, with this time jazz-tinged acoustic piano playing blanketed in a droning haze of real-world conversations and urban ambiance, after which “Alison,” Stabilo's second piece, shifts the focus back to a meditative ambient-drone style, though this time Horibe's soundworld exudes a subtle industrial character in adding hollowed-out echo to its slow-motion piano chords and warbly synthesizer flourishes. Though it's hardly a damning point, in a perfect world the release also would have been issued in a ten-inch vinyl format in addition to digital and CD, given how perfectly the four tracks split themselves down the middle and how naturally they group themselves into pairings featuring tracks by both artists.

February 2017