Upon seeing Ambiant Otaku's cover, you anticipate a more spiritually-oriented album. How does this gem of the Fax label impress so many people and catalyze both fascinating and repugnant list-discussions consistently every few months? There aren't any obvious "on-site" environmental recordings in any of the songs, unless you include the opening segment of ultra-chant vocals in Holy Dance which, hopefully, most people here have heard. It offers no clever beats scrambling for attention, no filmic dialogues. Ambiant Otaku shows how predominantly synthesized sounds can be both organic and spiritual. I think of the tracks of this album as specific moods composed to inspire and impress without sounding much like any other album out there. It definitely places me in a very specific state of mind whenever I listen to it. This was Tetsu's debut album on the Fax label, starting off an exquisite trilogy full of sounds that would attract a group of fans that continues to grow. Before listening to this one, do yourself a favor and forget about any preformed ideas on how it *should* sound or how good it must be. Just put it in one day when you feel a definite peace of mind and see what happens.
Karmic Light opens the set with a hi-end band of frequencies and ribbons of synth chords ringing and alternating left and right. Until about halfway into the track, this intro of sorts continues to fill itself out with various textured waveforms. At that point the track takes on all the beauty of the early 2350 Broadway sessions like Vision of Pulse or Hands of Light. The gliding waves and spacial-effect folds swoosh through the listening area like audible solar winds. The track fades away lightly....
Low of Vibration: Cross something like a distant and more permeating Data Haiku with occasional spheres of monstrous sub-bass and you get this beatless beauty. You can sleep to it or crank it. An instantly mood-altering sequence of notes is introduced and you rest back for 12 minutes in this pleasing earful. The sounds of this track possess ceremonial qualities and a bright and warm summer afternoon is transformed into a ritual of relaxation.
Ambiant Otaku: This one takes us away from the brightly lit atmospheres to a psi-fi futurist territory of distant impulsive rumblings and an assortment of pseudo-apprehensive warning sounds. All together, the title track is by degrees more intense and is the only track here that might be described as Dark. Several sequences of tones wrap themselves around the listening area turning it into a retro-twilight zone. Being the shortest track, it acts nicely as a segue between the first and second halves of the album. Elicits images of time-warping gateways and fiery blade-running skies.
Holy Dance: If this isn't the album's best track it's certainly the most "active." Many different subtle elements come together and create a very musical passage that should impress even the hard-to-please. Notes appear with shimmering globular qualities, a synth solo drifts like a lazy tide, and an infra-bass pulse keeps it all it time, binding together the weightless sounds with an intricately woven web of metallic slivers acting as hi-hats. Echoing textures fill in the corners and give the track a definite cohesion not often heard. This track was also on the resident Ambient Cookbook and the reissued Fax Compilation version put out by Instinct.
Magnetic Fields is the album's longest track at just under 18 minutes. I find myself playing this track more in the PM than the AM, though I'm sure it could also make for great sleeping material. A delicate series of notes trace the outlines of cycling chords. The mandala on the front cover suggests a basic, simple form that extends in all directions to ultimately become a complex but recurring pattern. And the album as a whole is kind of like that. Simple notes come together and eventually weave themselves into continually dazzling combinations.
(review by [email protected])
Solo disc by Tetsu Inoue, and if you're familiar with 2350 Broadway, his collaboration with Namlook, you know what you're in for. This is a very ethereal disc, full of lush, airy synths that you might expect in heaven or something. Karmic Light has swirling high tones interspersed with female voices with some soft percussion. Low of Vibration is almost lullaby-ish in its sounds. Ambiant Otaku gets a little strange with high pitched scratchy squealing noises that almost sound like animal shrieks. Coupled with the repetition of one line, it's almost spooky. Holy Dance has some heavily echoed chanting/singing that starts the journey into soft ambience.
This is a quality album from Inoue. Incidentally, "Ambiant Otaku" would be something like a nerd that just sits around and makes ambient music all day. I wish I was one of those.
(review by jonathan takagi)