Chihei Hatakeyama strolls along the beach, ´Prince of the Sea´, as the waves unfurl their last little curl just before reaching his feet. Few guitarists can evoke ambient weightlessness and nowhereness like he, even though album after album is given very earthbound titles – Alone By the Sea, Ghostly Garden, The River, Root Strata. This one, too – it has a mountain in the middle of it.
Though distinctive and attractive, each sound and colour that wells up from his guitar never assembles itself into something so gauche as a melody. Instead, Moon Light Reflecting Over Mountains, on Brisbane´s Room40, is more tactile than usual. ´A Narrow Path of a Sacred Forest´ is strewn with junk, and shards of light are flung every which way off the pieces of a ´Broken Mirror´. ´Mausoleum´ is slightly fuzzy, like the memory of a too-long gone loved one. Hatakeyama expresses each string´s individuality aggressively, before softening into a pianistic afterword.
The air is clear and the sky is wide on ´A Bronze Pike´, the most literal of tracks – an evening´s fishing excursion let´s say, maybe father and son, along the banks of some big city river cradled in a ravine, an unlikely idyll wrecked by some drunk Frenchmen belting out the ´Marseillaise´. An expert at navigating the territory between the ground and the stars, ´Journey to the Imaginary Paradise´ blows a bubble around us and floats up through a stratosphere thick with alien texture and the “Phantom Voice” of angels. “End of the Night” is a slowly rolled-out carpet, knotted with threads of bent, almost bluesy guitar. Laid out by the seashore.