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CD Feature/ Irezumi: "Endurance"

img  Tobias
There is hardly ever much to say about an Ambient release. Partly, that’s a feat inherent to the genre, which aims for the subconscious and the place where words end. Mainly, though, it is down to leagues of artists content with varying proven formulas, careful to avoid shocking the listener with a truly personal vision. This is where “Endurance” differs from the rest of the flock and why it has been met with such an enthusiastic response.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to make these kind of incisions. Starting out as a producer of Techno and House, Irezumi tentatively began dabbling his feet in the cool waters of Ambient, only to apparently discover his true calling in the process. “Endurance”, then, is the result of years of experimenting, composing, refining and of shaping a personal style, which still caters to the desire of calming down listeners’ heart rate but also invites them for a deeper journey.

Despite many outward indications, “Endurance” is not necessarily the snowbound-release one could be inclined to expect with regards to its imagery and the label it is being released on (“Snowblood”). Or to put it differently: Irezumi has withstood the temptation of filling his winterly cabinet with howling winds, chiming bell sounds or other by now well established cliches. If the glacial metaphor holds a meaning beyond its cover, then it must be seen in  the relation between man and nature – presenting the eye with landscapes and spaces infinitely vaster and deeper than anyone could ever expect to understand.

Especially the opening tracks have a strong sense of yearning and unfullfillable desire to them as well as various conglomerated feelings of uncertainty and an inexplicable tension. Their well-proportioned, softly rolling outlines make these tracks seem beautiful, but because of their perpetually unresolved states, they also convey danger and unease. It is like standing at the outer edge of a precipice: The panoramic view is breathtaking, but watch your step!

If the subtle inclusion of acoustic guitar, rhythm, harmonic suspense, melody, field recordings and vocal samples already hints at a varied approach in these early stages, containing some obvious highlights with the weightless mantra of “endurance #1” and the icey oasis phata morgana of “endurance #3”, the album takes its most courageous step just after half-time: Gentle major-chords bleed into a landscape of distant hollers and howls, engulfing the listener with harmony and warmth. What might be considered “kitch” by some actually lifts the album to a plain of its own, feeding from a careful exchange between suspense and release.

While most compositions are built around a repeating chord scheme or pattern in some form or the other, the technique does not turn into manierism. Instead, it awards “Endurance” with the kind of hermetic atmosphere and recognisable audio environment all Ambient artists are after. In contrast to others, however, Irezumi has created a field of metaphors, which extend well beyond the confinements of the genre and allows listeners their own path through his garden. Depending on their route, they will all have different things to say about this release.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Irezumi
Homepage: Snowblood Music

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