(Faraway Press)

Frequent collaborators Chalk and Suzuki completed this mysterious-sounding album in 2003. Originally issued by Three Poplars, “The days after” resurfaces now, adorned with the splendid artwork characterizing Faraway Press’ sleeves. The Japanese soundscaper provides field recordings made in Tokyo, crickets and percussion, while the Englishman responds with harmonium, chimes and guitar. The first track, “Kasuri”, contains the right balance of improvisation and scarce mobility – the latter ones very Mirror-like in its stringed adjacencies – allowing for the music to remain suspended in between a non-existent harmonic propulsion and the temporary displacement that every sentient being should theoretically feel whenever put in confront with the indecision of a move in life. Sometimes it’s better not moving at all, especially physically – and there’s maybe no one more proficient than Chalk in dissolving the idea of concreteness that marks the aridity of certain “regular” sounds, which he manages to turn into pure beneficial vibration. The second piece “Flaxen” encloses the voices of wind and sea at the beginning and throughout, plus a few human touches (small bells and objects whose noise is barely perceived). Gone three minutes or so, a fabulous subdued drone makes the soul a property of its own, again nailing our willpower to complete immobility. We just need to be invaded by those frequencies that bring us back to a womb of insecurity, yet one that we like to experience. The crickets begin to intone their unique chorale over the existing sources while the drones grow in intensity, a mantra in a deserted factory through a deforming lens. The circle is once more closed, for this is a unique moment of sound art that must be advised but, ideally, not shared. Born alone, die alone. Finishing the existence with this kind of soundtrack wouldn’t be inappropriate, though.

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