Kazumasa Hashimoto – Gllia (Noble Records / A-Musik)

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Tokyo-based composer / pianist Kazumasa Hashimoto has already accumulated significant praise for his first two albums “Yupi’ and “Epitaph’ on Plop, which both captured his vivid fusion of acoustic instrumentation, electronic processing, field recordings and found sounds in sharp detail. This third album “Gllia’ looks set to widen Hashimoto’ growing reputation even further and shows the classically-trained producer crafting a dreamy blend of instrumental arrangements (cello, piano, glockenspiel and drums, to name but a few), subtle melancholic vocals and meticulous electronics, resulting in a listening experience similar to Leaf artist Colleen.

Opening track “Theme’ nods towards the Morr label with its gossamer-delicate fusion of wistful processed vocals, delicate acoustic instrumentation and subtle, grainy electronics, while “Mr. Gleam’ comes across as the slow-burning link between Tortoise, Cornelius and Stereolab, with just a stray hint of FM soft-rock atmosphere lurking in the corners. “Monochrome Prome’ meanwhile traces a glittering path strewn with childlike glockenspiels and brooding cello undertones in one of this album’ most chamber-music oriented moments, before “Milmils’ bends oddly-processed and detached-sounding voice synthesis around a swelling backdrop of bells and strings, yielding a particularly vivid contrast between the acoustic and synthetic.

The sense of quirky elegance throughout also calls to mind the looming influence of Yellow Magic Orchestra, something that makes perfect sense when you consider that Hashimoto has worked previously with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Sketch Show’ Haromi Hosono – both YMO alumni. Enveloping, heartfelt and subtly poetic, “Gllia’ well deserves investigation.

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