The Beautiful Schizophonic and Yui Onodera:
Following as it does 2009's Radiance, Night Blossom is the second collaborative effort from Portuguese sound designer Jorge Mantas, aka The Beautiful Schizophonic, a project initiated by Mantas in 2004, and Japanese sound artist-composer Yui Onodera, whose profile received a boost in late 2010 when his collaboration with Celer, Generic City, was released on Will Long's Two Acorns label. Produced between spring 2010 and autumn 2011, the album finds Mantas pairing his synthesizers and electronics with Onodera's piano, electric guitars, and field recordings in a forty-minute, process-based collection of electro-acoustic ambient-drone settings.
A beautiful opener, “Dreaming in the Proximity of Mars” inaugurates Night Blossom with a flood of loud ambient-drone washes before Onodera raises the material to a higher plane with a judicious scattering of piano accents. It's a sensual beginning for an album that will offer more than its share of luscious moments. Natural field recordings sounds moves us outdoors for “Akathisia” and “Siamese Bloom,” vibrant and shimmering meditations embellished with rich detail, while “Nubian Clouds Over Saskia” perpetuates the entrancing character of the opener.
On a typical track, the duo overlays resplendent backdrops of shimmering micro-textures with the understated sparkle of single-note piano patterns, resulting in an undulating and sometimes epic wave of sounds that exhales ever-so-serenely. The addition of guests to three of the album's six settings alters the approach by substituing Onodera's piano with the bright punctuations of Masayoshi Fujita's (aka el fog) vibraphone and Miko's hushed reading of Japanese poetry during “Washing in Slow Colours” and “This Crying Age,” respectively. Taishi Kamiya's processed soprano saxophone, on the other hand, is so thoroughly absorbed into the ethereal fabric of “Siamese Bloom” that any trace of the instrument disappears altogether. Regardless, Night Blossom impresses as a lovely example of richly evocative ambient-drone soundscaping. Packaging fetishists also might be interested to note that the release is available in two formats, one the standard card wallet package and the other a limited-edition (100 copies) tin box format that comes with photo-cards.