Tokyo-based ambient producer Atsuhito Omori first emerged under his Ex Confusion alias back in 2010 with his debut album ‘Something To Remember’ on U-Cover, and since then he’s continued to release a steady stream of new material on labels including n5MD, Orchid Tapes and A Strangely Isolated Place. ‘I Remember When’ offers up his third album for n5MD as well as his sixth solo album in total, and as its overcast sleeve artwork suggests, it continues to see Omori crafting hazy and nostalgic ambience from treated guitar textures and gauzy electronics.
Indeed, for a large part of this album it almost feels like the listener is surrounded in gently billowing fog, with some background details fading into focus while others remain obscured. While the atmosphere is predominantly melancholy, there’s never a sense of menace or indeed tension in sight here. ‘In Your Eyes’ neatly encapsulates Omori’s sweeping approach as tape delayed ambient layers rise and swell effortlessly against brooding undertones that almost sound like grainy woodwind echoes, the resulting effect conjuring up a sense of weary serenity more than anything else.
‘Tears’ meanwhile reaches further out into post-rock territory as shimmering trails of treated guitars float against blurry ambient pads, the constant crackle of tape noise undercutting the glassiness of the synthetic tones as things close with a forlorn solo coda. It’s not until ‘Nothing Stays The Same’, more than half way through this album that the foggy cloak begins to part, revealing a gorgeous looped interplay between gently strummed guitar strings and what sounds like background orchestration sampled off vintage vinyl, in what’s easily the most dreamily hypnotic moment here.
Elsewhere, ‘I Owe The Earth A Body’ sees Omori collaborating with Benoit Pioulard to create what feels like the sonic equivalent of slowly flowing amber as vaporous harmonic layers slowly circle each other without ever really seeming to coalesce into solid form. Rather than demanding your full concentration, ‘I Remember When’ feels more designed to colour your surroundings, lurking in the background as it works its hauntological magic.