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Illuha - Shizuku [12K - 2011]

Illuha is the electronic/ambient project comprised of Corey Fuller and Tomoyoshi Date.  The duo both live in Tokyo, but Shizuku was recorded in a 100 year old church in Bellingham, Washington.  This produced sounds that featured natural acoustics and resonance from the aged timber.  In addition to synthesizers and piano, a variety of instruments and field recordings were utilized.  This is their debut cd for the 12K label.

To begin, Shizuku is a very personal creation.  Both participants were affected by the ups and downs of life compounded by the massive earthquake in Japan.  This is reflected in the emotional atmospheres apparent in their music. 

Every song is quite gentle and harmonious.  The lush sound of rainfall and waves on “Rokuu” is balanced by the acoustic guitars and richly toned cello.  The end result is oscillating sound with a melancholic feel, it borders on chilling actually.  Hard to describe, only saying relaxed with a bit of anxiety might get the point across.  As beautiful as each song sounds (and is crafted) there is always that undercurrent of a pensive, haunting, subtlety romantic feeling.

The sounds (and feelings) build from there.  “Seiya” has a more dissonant sound, almost jarring compared to the other songs.  It’s a lovely spoken word piece featuring a poem by Japanese poet Tadahito Ichinoseki.  The overall effect is dream-like without being too ethereal or spacey.   “Guuzai” starts with a single note suspended and then guitars are played softly against it.  A few piano chords come in to produce a gentle, wistful sound.  “Saika” spotlights the church acoustics.  Piano and various instruments bounce against the cracks, pops and creaks from inside the church.  It’s a stirringly tender piano piece, but at times the sounds in the background get muddled against it, giving it a claustrophobic feel.

While the songs here are composed and played brilliantly, the whole time I had a feeling of déjà vu.   You might be unable to put a definite finger on influences, but you can hear inspiration from similar projects such as Kyle Bobby Dunn and Skare.  Illuha are able to unite a mixture of ambient sounds with coherent, stirrings musical pieces.  Their ability to unite this with a wide range of emotions shows a well balanced ability that will serve them well.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Viktorya Kaufholz
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