Tomo-Nakaguchi - Tayutau [Audiobulb - 2022]
Tomo-Nakaguchi has been drifting of late, not listless or lost, but floating in a sea of his own making. Tomo’s newest release, Tayutau, is a Japanese word that stands for all these conditions, gliding like the slow swirl of the ocean’s nether regions.
The album belongs squarely to an ambient electronic genre, though Tomo has added a few elements to round this out, especially more acoustic instruments like guitars and horns, which shine like the sun glinting off a seascape on tracks like “Snowblink” and “A drizzly rain day in Asagaya.” Like the word for which the album is named, Tomo’s elegantly composed works take listeners on a journey through various states of repose and watery quietude, each sampled source and improvised lick rising and falling within a temporal horizon that feels very far from terra firma.
In the penultimate track, “Whiteout,” most of the harder edges of Tomo’s instruments are literally washed away, the metaphorical tide dissolving the remainder of any solid residues. In the final track, “Fall colors,” seasons reverse, and a small ray of light begins to pierce through the soundscape, a choral of dulcimers reminiscent of early Laraaji. Headphones are recommended to experience the full breadth and wisdom of Tomo’s tonal symphonies, appearing and disappearing like a slowly cresting wave – from the darkness of the ocean floor to the sparkling surface above.
This is an incredibly strong release, a curated journey along the sandy shores of an land surrounded by ambient music, field recordings, and live improvisation. It’s best to get it all at once so that each moment of this trip effectively feeds one another. Tomo’s achievement is inexpertly mixing all of his sources in such a way that only the arbitrary measurements of time ground this majestic drift.