paniyolo: I'm Home

paniyolo's I'm Home is so pretty and idyllic, it makes me want to pack up everything and move immediately to Japan. Listeners familiar with Schole won't be surprised to learn that Muneki Takasaka's fifty-five-minute debut album perpetuates the label's tradition of pastoral music-making. Though he's joined by a small number of guests (Akira Kosemura, and members of nica and 4 Bonjour's Parties), the Saitama-based producer is responsible for most of the album's sounds, with his classical and acoustic guitar playing featured prominently. Electronic production methods (loops, beat programming, a field recording of playing children in “Onigocco” heard alongside the song's jaunty recorder and melodica melodies) occasionally make their presence felt but discreetly so that the natural and acoustic emphases of paniyolo's music aren't lessened.

In the heartfelt opener, Takasaka weaves layers of gently picked acoustic guitars, piano, and Haruka Nakamura's pianica into a peaceful whole, while clip-clopping percussion accompanies a melodica's bright call in the third song. One can easily picture the bucolic sight of sheep grazing in open fields during “Sheep,” and the gentle mood Takasaka creates using guitars and melodica in the ninth song is particularly beautiful. The addition of xanthipita's voice to “Snow Country” gives it the kind of dreamy quality one often hears in Sawako's music, while track eleven merges Kosemura's piano and Kaede Mira's whisper to lovely effect. The album's not always so quiet; despite its title, “Reverie” gradually works itself up to a rather epic pitch, due in part to the song's multi-layered arrangement of guitars, beats, and strings. Takasaka's exquisite I'm Home will be like manna from heaven to Schole devotees.

April 2009