This isn’t an academic, or chinstroker’s record by any means: you don’t need a degree to enjoy the lovely melodies floating around
OK, so you the prospective listener don’t really need to know this, but me and the girlfriend found this record to be an extremely effective soundtrack when we had to assemble (without instructions I may add), a new book cabinet (glass fronted, sliding doors, can take a 12” record, etc.), in our living room last week. I suppose there is a relevance to all this in terms of the review, in that the nine ambient tracks that make up N-Plants have a quiet, steely determination to them, they have a game-plan, they are not ones to allow any slack. And we took this quiet, level headed spirit of the record and applied it to our task. It helped enormously.
The quiet vibe is kept from the first (and possibly the most soi distant and atonal of the tracks, Sendai –I) right through to the melancholy Fujiko. They are also refreshing, the odd moment of melody or the odd injection – always judiciously placed it seems - of a strange texture or noise lifts the tracks to a new level of awareness: the clicking beat on Shika-I or the Low-style synth wash on Genkai-I for example. It’s a very finely crafted well thought-out piece.
This isn’t an academic, or chinstroker’s record by any means: you don’t need a degree to enjoy the lovely melodies floating around such arid soundscapes as Jōyō or the wobbly walking synth line of Ikata –I, which could be a slice a theme tune from Charlie Brown.
Things get more melodic still with the babytalk of Monju-I and Monju-2 and Ōi-I is a charmingly underpowered trance.
A quiet classic, I think.