Akira Kosemura: DNA EP
1631 Recordings

As he did with his early 2016 EP Buddhists, Akira Kosemura has opted to release his follow-up EP on 1631 Recordings, the Swedish label run by Mattias Nilsson (of Kning Disk renown) and David Wenngren (aka Library Tapes) and founded in 2015, rather than on his own Schole imprint. It's hardly an unnatural or off-putting move, however, given the contemporary classical focus of 1631 and its affinity for piano-based material, and one guesses that the full-length Kosemura's currently preparing will probably show up on his own Tokyo-base imprint in the not-too-distant future. To that end, DNA could be seen as a teaser of sorts for that release, and at a svelte ten minutes a teaser it is, though it's also enticing.

Of the three pieces featured, it's the title track that on production grounds is the most elaborate, Kosemura in this case wrapping a handful of serene melodies within a soft, hazy blanket subtly woven from subtle enhancements, among them a recurring triangle-like ting and misty layers of metronomic piano patterns. It's not clear whether synthesizers were used to generate the ambient washes that seem to drape themselves over everything or whether the effect is attributable to the production design, but there's no denying the dream-like quality the treatment imparts to the music. Slower and less dense by comparison are “Inside River #1” and “Inside River #2,” both of which feature Kosemura playing a dusty old piano sans accompanying sounds. Adding to the music's intimate feel, ambient creaks and the like emerge as the graceful, two-minute miniatures play, and even though their arrangements are stripped-down compared to the one in “DNA,” a hazy ambient glow still emanates off of the two settings. Ten minutes isn't much, but it's clearly enough for Kosemura's signature artistry to make itself felt.

January 2017