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Colbets: Far Away from the Light

img  Tobias Fischer

Infallibly, in the titles of Saitoh Tomohiro and Kari Takemoto's pieces, it's either late or raining. Like its predecessors, Far Away from the Light is an album about isolation, about the struggle to stay human when the odds are stacked against you. And yet, it is precisely in the afterglow of Tomohiro's trumpet, as lonely as Miles on a bad day, in the silence between two chords, that the music is at it's most beguiling. There is an emptiness behind the beat, between the bars and below the immediate sonic surface, which suggests a far bigger space than these nine compositions could ever spell out in full. On the ten-minute-long centerpiece title track, which sounds like a romantic guitar étude brought down to the breathing rate of a giant tortoise, this emptiness is occasionally even more present than the actual notes being played. One could see the constant push and pull of the forces as the polarity between man and machine, at times Takemoto's fragile, slow-motion tremolos representing the last person earth as he wades through the dystopian ruins of what may once have been songs. But there is no heroism here: More often than not, the shaky drum loops, fragile electronic textures and naïve keyboard melodies seem just as uncertain of what's around the bend as him. This oscillation between unashamed emotionality and recklessly experimental sound design is the axis around which the entire album revolves, sometimes going from heart-wrenching love song to triumphant anthem within seconds, only to disappear headlong into a desolate dark ambient soundscape a mere instant later. Some may find these mood swings unsettling. But really, that's because they're a sonic image of the world around us: We've built cities as big as entire countries, endless fields of concrete and tar. Is it any wonder they should breed a music as beautifully insecure as this?

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Colbets
Homepage: An/Ay Records

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