Terrence Dixon
Ten Favourite Labels 2012

1982 + BJ Cole
Oren Ambarchi
Alexander Berne
Born Gold
Carlyle & Cox
Kate Carr and Gail Priest
Paul Corley
Roland Etzin
Yuichiro Fujimoto
Godspeed You! Bl. Emp.
Ivar Grydeland
Sophie Hutchings
Kane Ikin
Jeanne Jolly
Paul Mac
Michael Mayer
David Michael
David Newlyn
No Regular Play
Oskar Offermann
Olan Mill
Roomful of Teeth
Bruno Sanfilippo
Valgeir Sigurdsson
The Sleep Of Reason
Jessica Sligter
Slow Dancing Society
Prins Thomas
The Use Of Ashes
Maarten van der Vleuten
Stian Westerhus
Wires Under Tension
Woolfy vs. Projections

William Basinski

Elektro Guzzi
Porya Hatami
Maps & Diagrams
Stephan Mathieu
Michael Trommer

Yuichiro Fujimoto: Speaks Melodies
Audio Dregs

Some albums seem to be designed with a particular time of day in mind. A case in point is Yuichiro Fujimoto's Speaks Melodies, whose unhurried unfolding aligns perfectly with those groggy morning moments after one rises and the world starts to come into focus. Real-world elements constitute a major part of the sound-world on Fujimoto's fourth album. During “A Cup of Melody,” for example, one hears silverware tinkling alongside delicate musical fragments played on piano, acoustic guitar, and melodica (drumming, too, by Tim Barnes). But unlike many a recording where field recordings are used to ornament the music, Speaks Melodies often does the opposite in having the musical components act as a soundtrack for nature sounds (water, birds, footsteps trudging through the brush) and activities drawn from everyday life (speaking voices, city noise). Musical episodes drift in and out of Fujimoto's sketches—a lazy hip-hop drumbeat during “The Boys,” for instance—in what amounts to a steady commingling of natural and musical sounds. In that regard, the title of the album's longest piece, the twelve-minute “Sketches of Views of Smalltown,” could have been used as a title for the project as a whole in place of the one selected.

Fujimoto's less a formal composer and more sound collagist, someone who assembles diverse bits and pieces into a relaxed flow. Though on paper the approach might sound experimental, in practice the album's feel is intimate, warm, and unpretentious. Elements often intermingle so naturally one could be forgiven for thinking that the street and musical sounds were recorded and then presented sans editing. Bolstering that relaxed feel is the fact that Fujimoto is no virtuoso—the piano playing, for example, more suggests someone at home struggling to master a challenging piece more than someone with advanced conservatory ability. But rather than being off-putting, that modest level of technique fits well with the home-styled character of the project. By the time the penultimate track “Street Pray” appears, Speaks Melodies does, however, start to feel a tad overlong, especially when its fifty-two minutes hew to the same slow-motion pace from beginning to end. For the record, the Urayasu, Japan-based Fujimoto is also a photographer whose work is featured in the release in the form of a sixteen-page booklet of street photographs.

November 2012