Tomas Phillips and Marihiko Hara – Prosa (Tench)


Prosa is a gorgeous exploration of ambient and neo-classical musical forms in which the eight pieces possess defining individual personalities. Usually we’re just subjected to some poignant piano doodles draped over reverbed synth patches and backwater field recordings, each throwaway track blurring into the next, pleasant enough but utterly forgettable, so an album such as Prosa, where each track is memorable, is rare indeed.

Its not quite all like this however, the final two-minute wispy key sketch blows by without making a dent, but I guess that’s the “ignorable” part of the ambient duality. The rest is interesting largely because of its unpredictability whilst remaining coherent. The opening “Prosa 1:i” faithfully follows the Sakamoto-Alva Noto path faithfully, the piano less diatonic, more like Harold Budd, and the electronics more Spartan, less confronting. Then we’re given a rhythm of sorts, shakers rattling alongside dripping water features and plinky high notes. The following bass blobs recall Oren Ambarchi, and the granular low-end drone of “Prosa II: iii” is equally surprising, and expertly done. They also explore Oval-esque razor processing, elastic reverse sampling, and sine tones tagled like reeds, all with equal skill.


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