Sawako + Daisuke Miyatani: Hi Bi No Ne

Hi Bi No Ne presents fifty minutes of tranquil, multi-hued meditations from Sawako and Daisuke Miyatani. Having issued wonderful material on 12k, Anticipate, and Community Library among others, sound sculptor Sawako is a well-known quantity to textura readers and her trademark delicacy is in full flower on this charming release. Though born in Nagoya, Japan, Sawako's now firmly ensconced in New York , while Miyatani resides in Awaji Island, Japan. His name may be familiar, too, if a little less so, with his Diario having appeared last year on Ahornfelder. Filled with sounds of music boxes, toy glockenspiels, bird chirps, organs, acoustic guitars, thumb piano s, children's voices, and outdoor sounds, the duo's vignettes are ideally suited for the Lullatone fan in your circle.

Hi Bi No Ne is apparently a split disc but there's no credits accompanying the songs so it's up to the listener to figure out whether a given track is Sawako's or Miyatani's. There's also some suggestion that certain pieces are collaborations and others individual creations. No matter: listeners familiar with their styles will be able to easily make the necessary connections. The simplest way to distinguish her material from his? Sawako's breathy vocalizing is present in a number of her songs while environmental sounds figure more prominently in Miyatani's. “Small Planet,” with the squeak of its bird calls heard alongside acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, and gently flowing horns, and the gentle lullaby “I'm Home,” with its tea kettle whistle and kitchen noises, are likely two of his while “Tiny Star,” which pairs a soft female voice with a glistening carousel of rustles and bell tones, and “Hanauta,” where a gentle vocal lightly dances atop a gentle organ and acoustic guitar base, are likely Sawako's. In some cases, it could be either or both: it's hard to say who's behind the uncharacteristically long eight-minute centerpiece “Am3:00,” for example, which wraps Eno-like piano melodies in gauze, and the same applies to “Sou,” a glitchy ballad which aligns her soft voice to an Oval-like mass of clicks and fragmented tones. No matter: the album has more than its share of pretty ambient pieces, gentle meditations, and glistening drones , and h er repeated “Goodnight” at the closing song's end nicely captures the lullaby-like character of the album as a whole.

September 2008