Chihei Hatakeyama & Shun Ishiwaka – Magnificent Little Dudes Vol.1. (Gearbox Records)


This is the first joint effort between sound artist Chihei Hatakeyama, who has a vast catalogue that includes works on Home Normal, Room40 and Kranky, alongside Shun Ishiwaka, one of Japan’s most prolific modern jazz drummers. The result of these sessions is 5 pieces that form a whimsical sound narrative of over an hour, combining their vision to reach uncharted and delightful territories.

01 M0

There’s a dim light peaking through the dense atmospheric pads that breath in and out, as a prelude to the ceremonial bells that opens a slow-paced but moving percussion. Floating guitar riffs envelope a rising yet soothing and exquisite drum session from Ishiwaka, that manages to go different places and return in rounds of reinvigorated pulsation.

02 M1.1

The relationship of Ishiwaka’s drums and Hatsakeyama’s sonic manipulations takes on different shapes, whereas the album starts with a rising pace, the rhythm seems to be inwards on ‘M1.1’, but this doesn’t mean less action. Dissonant hums are the final touches of a blend that shines in its contrast between evolving electronics and exploratory free jazz drumming. Layering drones add weight and motion until the piece reaches a zenith with touching guitars and ethereal beauty.

03 M1.2

We continue the journey sometimes vaporous, sometimes filled with different coexisting textures, that stream like a river and also expands to samples and different elements that follow the nature tradition in ambient music.

04 M4

M4 features Japanese artist Hatis Noit, and is our favourite. This turning point on the record continues part of the mood achieved on the previous track, flourishing on Noit’s rich and delicate voice glimmering through the composition, taking us places.

05 M7

M7 ends the EP with a selection of memory-evoking elements, as if wrapping up a diverse sonic odyssey with a return to the basics: melodies coming from a piano. A cathartic composition that reminds of a vanishing greater past.

Though the pair stated there was no preparation in advance for the recording session and no overdubbing during the process, Magnificent Little Dudes reaches an almost spiritual height thanks to Hatakeyama and Ishiwaka’s well defined intentions, the result of two prolific sound explorers with a fine-tuned sensitivity.



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