Radicalfashion – Garçon (Flau)


This is Kobe-based Hirohito Ihara´s second album, having debuted eight years ago with Odori. In one way, Ihara reminds me of fellow countryman Fumio Yasuda, a pianist with one foot in pools of pop and the other the ocean of classical music, saturated with Romanticism, piano bar coolth, and skillful, melodic improvisation. But while a fine piano player, and tasteful indeed, Radicalfashion also applies Boolean logic to his instrument, digital interventions deftly integrated, enhancing and undermining expectations.

Electronics aside, Garçon is a testament to a pointed style that itself infuses each of his instrumentals with narrative. “Sequence for Tsuguharu Fujita” is a halting, seemingly very personal and intimate encounter with the work of the idiosyncratic painter. “Bone China”, delicate of course, sounds like it´s always been around, played in bars and at family gatherings, jerking happy tears. Shifting metier for just a moment, “A Ribbon Knot” is violin beset by virtual bees. “Miuccia Lyric” is sweet, petite but slightly drunk. The sprightly, Springtime-in-Paris piano primping of “Pointillism” is humourously underscored by not quite in sync handclapping, set on its proper, measured pace by Ihara´s disciplinary humming, albeit late in the piece.

The piano is underwater on “Egyptology”, while on shore scarabs dig in the sand and police siren harmonium ultimately disappears to reveal a sweeter piano just over that dune, just in time. “In Women” is an opus stretching over four-and-a-half New York minutes, beginning with a gentle turning of the autumn leaves, a little walk in the park, a brooding chess game, a longing gaze back over the shoulder. “To ´The September 13th´” finally resubmerges the piano, turning it spongey and organ-like, a smear of blue watercolours, a moody, reluctant goodbye.


Stephen Fruitman


About Author

Born and raised in Toronto, Stephen Fruitman has been living in northern Sweden lo these past thirty years. Writing and lecturing about art and culture as an historian of ideas since the early nineties, his articles have appeared in an number of international publications. He is also a contributing editor at Igloo Magazine.

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