Fireflies is something out of time; and something quietly special in an overcrowded and often over exposed field.
This is a truly beautiful record. A brilliant shimmering presence (using guitar drones, found sounds and loops) spread over five gargantuan, monolithic slabs of audio that really do very little, apart from incrementally build up pressure on the listener. The album is essentially one long (and quiet) meditation all built up using no extraneous technology, so something for the “pure” Heads. Given its supine core, you don’t get too much in the way of surprises, although we do get vocals from Rie Mitsutake (Miko) on Spirits.
It’s a very metallic and organic sound, compressed from many different elements to create a tough, dry, reinforced whole that doesn’t really yield to any interpretation other than those preordained by the two musicians; though there are a fair number of distractions added along the way, such as that rumbling double bass counterpoint on Spirits. The tactile feel is emphasized when a shift in scale or tone happens, such as in ホタル and ホタル (that’s track 1 and 4 to all you non-Japanese readers) or it almost feels like the actual material the tracks are constructed from is slowly bending in front of you; you could almost run your hand over the slow curves of sound.
Still, as I said, there are counterpoints; Let Me Sing You A Song of Kindness does add some strange grouting, scraping noises to the track’s undercarriage; noises that eventually find a mate in some ethereal and incredibly thin passages of recorded sound that remind me of the strange dry as dust noises on Kraftwerk’s Endless. And Hope is a strangely tessellate collage of sounds and voices, only enforcing itself (through that guitar drone) about two minutes in and proceeding – with the help of what sounds like an organ that's been recorded under water or something - to get as arid as the aforementioned Let Me Sing You..., some sort of Tarkovsky vision, knocked up by Florian Fricke at his most hermetic.
Fireflies is something out of time; and something quietly special in an overcrowded and often over exposed field. And cool to see a photo from the Mighty Fabio Orsi photo on the cover too!