You’re going to need some reserves of concentration here. Masayoshi Fujita – known also as el fog - has made a sensuous and intelligent set of musical essays on Stories;
A superb record, at turns soothing and mildly transcendental though take note; this is the sort of release that should be taken in when supine, or wrapped in your latest satin dressing gown in front of a log fire. You’re going to need some reserves of concentration here. Masayoshi Fujita – known also as el fog - has made a sensuous and intelligent set of musical essays on Stories; ones that also highlight the immense attention to detail and an unbroken focus on the moment in hand. They are qualities that Japanese artists seem to have as a birth right. Apparently Fujita played around with the possibilities of the vibraphone, using beads and aluminium foil to extend or enrich the sound, and only adding other instrumentation where necessary, such as a mournful string part on Story of a Forest. Of course, nothing is out of place or over used.
Be warned, Stories is a record that demands a response from the listener; despite the super quiet nature of this record it’s one that doesn’t really relent or pause for a breather, and the observations are – for all their delicacy, undiluted, hyper-focussed. Take Swan and Morning Dews, which can crush you with its simple, repeated coda. And then, there’s a small wobble on the vibraphone in Snow Storm that somehow suggests that enervated, elevated feeling of remove that looking at a snowy landscape can bring. Cloud floats as a cloud should; long distended notes are drawn out and given room to drift into and out of the listener’s consciousness. It’s a beautiful piece. Waterfall I & II sometimes dissolves into nothingness, elsewhere the sounds resemble the mellifluous ripples and gurgles of water… again, just like it should. Oh, watch out for the penultimate track River, with its strings and busy vibraphone part, which will catch you out if you’re too lulled by what’s gone on before.
It also turns out that Nils Frahm, that other great exponent of the sensual mastered this record. So no excuse, go and give this a listen without delay.