Masaya Ozaki – Fluid and Dreaming of Stripes. Eilean Records
On his debut album, Masaya Ozaki, a Japanese composer and multi-instrumentalist, undergoes an in-depth examination in how much emotion can be provoked through a bare minimum of sound. Using a variety of plucked string instruments (guitar and ukulele), piano, synth pads and tape manipulations, Ozaki creates a nuanced and restrained series of works. Most pieces highlight one instrument with ambient harmonies underneath and washes of grainy white noise. The overall mood is one of melancholy contemplation and longing, as the improvisatory-sounding melodies meander around and strive for some sort of climax that never comes. In Ozaki’s sound-world, all sense of rhythm is abolished and melodic lines conform to no set of expectations, giving them an aimless feel. All pieces are fairly static both melodically and texturally, and listeners must devote their full attention to catch the subtle shifts that take place throughout the pieces. Regardless of the somewhat removed and distant musical nature, they pack a substantial emotional punch and instantly transport the listener into a world of bleary-eyed meditation.