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The Retail Sectors: 'The Starlight Silent Night' draws Hope from a Flat Life

img  Tobias
“I live in a small country town in the mountains. I go to the factory I work at early in the day and come back home late at night. The cycle is repeated every day”, he tells me, “Furthermore, there is not much entertainment to be had in town. Therefore, in the holidays, I drink and spin daydreams.” These daydreams have manifested themselves in a romantic spinoff of the Post Rock genre, as seen from the eyes of a Japanese Guitarist. A “flat life”, as he puts it, has ended up giving birth to a galaxy of brokenness, his quickly expanding Symbolic Interaction label as well as Togawa’s one-man band The Retail Sectors.

While recent works like “Subject Unknown” won over the international press thanks to a refined blend of original material and remixes by friends organically interwoven in the album’s textures, his current full-length “The Starlight Silent Night” is actually an early oeuvre, replete with youthful ambition and unrestrained immediacy. Recorded several years prior to “Subject Unknown”, the record captures an 18 year young Togawa in full flow, effortlessly churning out plaintive Guitar licks and triumphantly emphatic anthems. “I think that "The Starlight Silent Night" is more emotional than earlier material because of my inexperience”, he concludes, looking back.

He certainly has a point. “Starlight Silent Night” almost makes its audience feel like a crowd of voyeurs, as its demiurge bares his soul and steps out into the cold limelight naked and with nothing but sad stories to tell. Winter, rather than Autumn seems to be right season to listen to these brittle moodscapes, which occasionally explode into raw fireworks of frenzied Punk and jarsh instrumental Rock. Summerly tracks like opener “The First Step to Fly Again”, the ecstatically building almost-title-track and the seven-minute minimalist pulsations of “A Sense of Emptiness” embue one with a feeling of great hope and confidence, before disappointment and saturnine premonitions pull one down again.

The naive charme of the album is one of its strengths and one can only guess how Togawa will embed it into his contemporary compositions. On the other hand, a lot of good has always come out of coincidences and accidents for the Retail Sectors: “While preparing my contribution for the Textura compilation “Kubla Khan”, I had to translate the English poem to Japanese for my smooth understanding. Based on the translated poem, I started to make some music for that.” Maybe, therefore, there is a very simple explanation why his pieces, with their heavy Hard Rock outbursts stick out from the serene calm of the other contributions: “It may be due to the translating”, he smiles.

Homepage: The Retail Sectors
Homepage: Symbolic Interaction

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