Summons of Shining Ruins: Masami Ssi, Dangsin Ui Him E Su Eobs-Eoseo Mian Haeyo. Naneun Dangsin Eul Ij-Ji Anhseubnida. Gamsahabnida.

Tone Color: Today Will Die Tomorrow

One shouldn't make too much of the fact that Masami Ssi, Dangsin Ui Him E Su Eobs-Eoseo Mian Haeyo. Naneun Dangsin Eul Ij-Ji Anhseubnida. Gamsahabnida. is the longest title to have appeared on a taâlem release, even if a title so long is hard to ignore. Obviously the music featured on the three-inch disc (nestled comfortably within the small, transparent case favoured by the French label) is of greater import, and in this case the twenty-three-minute setting by Japanese composer Shinobu Nemotu under the Summons of Shining Ruins moniker more than rewards one's time and attention. Nemotu, who's released material on Install, Resting Bell, Analog Path, and his own Moufu Rokuon, uses electric guitar and tape recorder on the long-form piece to create a graceful, enveloping moodscape characterized by serenity and limpidity. Against a gently shimmering backdrop, faint wisps of electric guitar tones appear, with the instrument's clear definition allowing it to clearly separate itself from the hazy background. As one might expect for a setting so peaceful, Nemotu's ambient material unfolds at a pace so slow it seems to forgo tempo altogether. It's a powerfully immersive recording that pulls the listener almost surreptitiously into the music with each passing minute.

Another recent taâlem release, Today Will Die Tomorrow is the first physical outing from Tone Color (aka Manchester, UK-based Andy Lomas), whose three-inch contribution to the taâlem catalogue follows previous appearances on Audio Gourmet, Assembly Field, and FutureSequence. In contrast to the Summons of Shining Ruins release, Tone Color's presents six settings in the two- to six-minute range; common to the two releases, however, is a stylistic focus on ambient material of peaceful and graceful character, with Lomas having used guitar, synths, and field recordings to generate his. But whereas a clear separation can be drawn between the guitar and non-guitar elements in Nemotu's setting, the various instruments in the Tone Color tracks seamlessly meld to form ambient-drone miniatures whose hazy drift exudes a seductive power of its own. Though a marked change in sound design occurs during the fourth track when layers of piano sprinkles impart a gently lulling quality to “La Ronde,” a consistent and quietly lustrous glow emanates off of the other five pieces. It's lovely stuff guaranteed to appeal to listeners with an appetite for refined ambient production.

June 2014