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Koutaro Fukui: "Gently Touching The Conception"

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Electronic musician Koutaro Fukui earns his living creating music and sound for film and his new album Gently Touching The Conception functions as much as ethereal sound design as it does slow-motion musical compositions. Built largely around computer-generated textures with subtle touches of unidentifiable found sounds, these auditory sculptures seem a perfect soundtrack to churning images of static or motionless and vacant photographs.

Gently Touching The Conception is comprised of three expansive textural pieces: “Gently,” “Touching,” and “Conception.” Insistent bell-like sounds hover over sustained digital drones while subtle flurries of static drift almost imperceptibly in and out of the soundscape. Low-end metallic rumbles quietly roll in and out under swirling wind sound and delicate hisses. Repetitive and soothing, much of the music melts into consuming hums that leave you sedate and almost unaware that you’re “actively” listening to a cycle of compositions. During its more energetic and engaging moments, however, the album consumes you in its abrasive textures and interlocking rhythmic layers that gradually twist your head through ever-changing musical spaces.

“Gently,” the album’s most intriguing and ambitious composition, moves from barely audible sound designs to long periods of silence broken by jolting computer hiccups. Gradually, other percussive sounds, hisses, and rattlings are added to the digital stabs until, at the 7 minute mark, the elements coalesce into a field of pushing polyrhythms. As sustained synth notes enter and exit the texture, the piece achieves a state of hypnotic coherency colored with washes of foreign sounds before dissolving back into lulling ambient textures. 

Fukui is a masterful texturalist and it’s easy to imagine Gently Touching The Conception as a facet of a multidisciplinary installation art piece although the music is intriguing enough to stand on its own. The use of space and slow development of musical ideas over the course of each composition and the album as a whole make for a listen that, while hypnotic, never lets you completely disengage from the music. Rather, you find yourself constantly revisiting sections in an effort to dissect the artist’s subtle and compelling layers of sound.

By Hannis Brown

Homepage: Koutaro Fukui
Homepage: SEM Label

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