The cover image on Reflection Primal – green plastic baubles clinging to a tree branch, accurately describes Saburo Ubukata’s music: spangly synthetic forms striving for the organic. Like many Japanese ambient producers, including Chiehei Hatakeyama who mastered the album, Ubukata weaves field recording and processing around acoustic instrumentation, in his case piano, to create abstract flurries of gentle sound.
Nothing revolutionary or surprising here, but everything ticks the right boxes; most importantly Reflection Primal is beautifully recorded and sequenced. Like much on the 12k roster but with greater warmth, acoustic and electronic tones weave together effortlessly, fusing and blurring but not at the expense of eliminating their own timbres. Longer tracks ‘Refrains’, ‘Tokyo Eufonio’ and ‘Harvest Dream’ tend to lose focus somewhat, but given the way in which all pieces amble careless and indifferent, this is a feature and not a fault. Comfortable furniture music for the twenty first century.