15 October 2006

Fourcolor - Letter Of Sounds - 12k - CD

It’s fair to say, I think, that Keiichi Sugimoto is not only prolific, but something of a master of his genre of music as well. It doesn’t seem to matter which of his guises he’s working under, he always just seems to get it right. Whether he’s producing as Fonica, Filfla or as part of four-piece act Minamo, there’s a subtlety and very Japanese beauty to everything he does.

To find that the new 12k release is from his Fourcolor moniker is great news indeed as ‘Air Curtain’, his previous CD for Taylor Deupree’s label, was a delicious slice of low-key, melodic electronic lushness.

Similarly, ‘Letter Of Sounds’ is a work that seems infinitely delicate, yet more than robust enough to stand the test of time.

By opening with the sheer exuberance of ‘02’ it quickly becomes apparent that we’re dealing with a serious album. His use of organically-based sounds which are then constructed into shimmering layers of electronic music is enchanting and, once again, we find him using the sound of guitar harmonics to punctuate his tracks.

Simple, charming chord structures form the basis for a lot of the work here and they have a pleasingly old-school feel with just the right amount of Techno-style soul to keep the purists happy whilst injecting it more traditional instrument sounds.

He never saturates the tracks though, and always gives the tones enough room to weave around the crisp rhythmic elements that creep in from time to time.

In fact there’s enough room on the second track ‘Rowboat’ to allow female Japanese vocalist Piana to breathe some lyrical life into the track.

Her voice acts as a superbly fragile accompaniment and it’s great to see yet another artist who isn’t afraid to use the voice as yet another tool for creating sound, as opposed to relying on it for unnecessary and obvious emotional content.

When he picks up the tempo later into the album there’s an even greater hint of Techno that shines through. You get the sense that he’s a fan of the Motor City sound and some of the rigid structures and tight metronomic clicks definitely give a nod in that direction.

He always adds in his unique melodic chords though and that’s the true strength – there’s always beauty – even when, as in ‘Leaves’, he adds an experimental leaning to the track… in this case a resonant and insistent test tine which gradually builds throughout the track.

Sugimoto should be treasured for his consistently excellent and charming work and this release will certainly go down as one of my favourites.


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