Hakobune: We Left the Window Open Sometimes
Symbolic Interaction

Symbolic Interaction takes up temporary residence in U-cover territory with the release of Hakobune's luscious ambient collection We Left the Window Open Sometimes. A paradisiacal headphones listen if there ever was one, the forty-six-minute set (the first in the label's Pragmatism Series) pairs five Takahiro Yorifuji originals with remixes by fellow sound sculptors David Tagg, Capricornus (Hiroshi Tanaka), and SLO.BOR Media co-founder Jason Sloan. Kyoto resident Yorifuji uses layers of guitars to generate his slow-burning tendrils of shimmering luminescence, and the dense masses that result have an hypnotic impact on the listener. Yorifuji processes the guitar sounds until almost every trace of the original instrument is gone, and listeners might think they're listening to multi-layered streams of organs and synthesizers. The most beautiful of the five pieces is “Nullity and Rumination” which inhabits for a glorious eight minutes a celestial sphere that's even higher than those of the other originals.

Remixing ambient material of this kind requires a sensitive and judicious approach: thankfully none of the three guests is so foolish as to undermine the character of the originals and disrupt the album's cohesiveness by adding breakbeats or something equally inappropriate. New York-based David Tagg subtly opens up “The Way In” so that it feels more expansive and epic without losing its tranquil quality. Capricornus applies much the same approach to his shimmering “Fleeting Reference” makeover, while Sloan coaxes the ghostly qualities of “The Obstinate Momentum of Time” to the fore. Soft pads in the background also bring an understated percussive dimension to the music without compromising the Hakobune sound. In fact, so complementary are the remixers' approach to Yorifuji's that one could easily hear the pieces as eight Hakobune originals.

September 2008