Moshimoss: Hidden Tape No. 66

Though it might be oxymoronic to characterize it as such, Moshimoss's Hidden Tape No. 66 exudes a controlled euphoria that often makes it sound kin to Sigur Rós. Recorded at Studio Moopy, Yamanashi, the album is very much consistent with the brand of graceful and deeply textured electronic music that Dynamophone's been giving its listeners since the label's inception. In this particular case it means introspection and longing are emphasized in fourteen meticulously sculpted settings that Tokyo resident Kosuke Anamizu assembled from a modicum of gear and instruments (guitars, upright piano, electric piano, field recordings, electronics). That Anamizu might have had Sigur Rós in his thoughts during the recording is intimated by song titles such as “Into the Ice” and “Far North” and by the kernel of an imaginary story acompanying the release that refers to the recording as a cassette found with maps of Iceland in an envelope within a room devoid of life.

In “Slow Days It Was Super,” soft wind streams blow alongside gentle electric piano figures, insistent downtempo rhythms, and high-pitched wordless vocalizing that calls to mind Sigur Rós's Jónsi Birgisson. “Grottuviti” and “My Everlong” likewise traffic in a kind of meditative stateliness that's sometimes heard in the Icelandic group's music, while a quietly hopeful theme pushes its way to the surface of a thick mass of noise textures during “Lullaby for a Lonely Promontory.” A subtle strain of hymnal grandeur emerges during a number of tracks too, including “Longing,” where the tone is made explicit with the inclusion of choral voices. But one shouldn't make too much of the similarities as Moshimoss is certainly more than a mere clone of the group. Anamizu tills his own field, so to speak, even if his approach to doing so has nevertheless been influenced by some well-known others (Fennesz, for example, in addition to Sigur Rós). Representative of this fine album's general style are tracks like “Moss Pillow” and “Melody,” where detailed arrays of acoustic guitars, electric pianos, and crunchy found percussion unfold at their own unhurried pace.

January 2011