木魂 – 桜の木
Recommendation: ✂ (“川の誕生,” “暖かい風,” “現代文明”)
桜の木1 represents a sea change for the Latinwave label, which primarily supports Hispanic and Latin American artists and culture in the context of vaporwave. Rather than feature ECCOJAMS edits of Spanish-speaking musicians and singers, 木魂2 is practically ambient vaporwave with visual and sonic influences from Chinese and Japanese culture – something very different from a label that put out an album called ♒UND≡RWΔT≡R MOD≡RN GΔLL≡RY♒ by ₴AЙ PЁDЯО ЇD just two months prior. 桜の木 altered the game for Latinwave, which afterwards began to release albums of the futurevisions bent and even hardvapor (although they certainly still release in their old style).
桜の木 is dedicated to the victims of the 16 April 2016 earthquake in Ecuador in the province of Esmeraldas, approximately seventeen miles south of the coastal city of Muisne. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake was felt in Colombia and Peru, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an alert for coastal areas as far away as Costa Rica and Fiji. A state of emergency was declared by Ecuador, and over 670 people died with over 27,700 injuries, becoming the worst natural disaster to hit the country in over seventy years. Clean-up is ongoing (by the time of this writing), with concerns of Zika looming over the displaced populations.
In some aspects of Japanese traditional culture, the cherry blossom resembles the fragility yet beauty of life, owing to its short yet stunning flowering period. Similarly, 桜の木 is not a mournful album, but a plaintive and even celebratory one; 木魂 seeks to commemorate lives rather than languish in despondency. Tracks have a sort of 4th Worlds: Possible Musics ambiance to them, with a heavy utilization of minimalist repetitions on a theme in order to impart a peaceful feeling to the listener. Tracks such as “大惨事の後” and “暖かい風” use overtly Far East instruments and compositional styles; the latter song features a serene steel guitar that never feels its fifteen-minute length. There’s quite a bit of percussion phasing that’s similar to telepath’s earlier works in obfuscating filters; in contrast, those on 桜の木 conceive a clean and welcoming sound, like sunlight through fog.
As a full hour-long listening experience, 桜の木 is a bit tiresome, especially toward the end where it’s simply too standard-ambient-vaporwave. The middle section is excellent; tracks #2-#5 wonderfully perform their bereaved yet stoic acceptance of the serendipitous inevitability of loss, and come recommended for fans of Brian Eno ambiance.
1. 気候変動 – (12:11)3
2. 大惨事の後 – (8:10)4
3. 川の誕生 – (3:22)5
4. 暖かい風 – (15:30)6
5. 現代文明 – (4:34)7
6. 桜の木 – (5:34)8
7. 黒猫の隠れ家 – (5:08)9
1Japanese translation: “Cherry blossom”
2Chinese translation: “Wood soul”
3Japanese translation: “Climate change”
4Japanese translation: “After the catastrophe”
5Japanese translation: “Birth of the river”
6Japanese translation: “Warm wind”
7Japanese translation: “Modern civilization”
8Japanese translation: “Cherry blossom”
9Japanese translation: “Black cat lair”