Reviewing micro ambient, minimalist and contemporary sound design releases from around the world




This excellent five track set marks an interesting new angle on the field of contemporary drone for Home normal. Not in texture,dynamics or artwork but, in instrumentation. Taishi Kamiya use's mostly just soprano saxophone and laptop to create this album. The inherent nature of the soprano sax doesn't lend itself to drone music well in its raw state, its tone and attack often have the listener thinking of free jazz and experimental world music themes, but in a altered processed setting and in the hands of a talented musician, the instrument really is able to give something new to the contemporary drone and micro sound worlds. Why?

The album begins with the track 'Calm'. Faint high frequency single note threads shimmer into life. Glitch based fragments and recorded sounds of what seems to be fast moving air , maybe created by the sax carefully fade in. This bed of revolving micro sounds creates a nice theme for the actual instrumentation to sit over, as the listener can contemplate the sax in a new setting and context.

Its clear on the next two tracks 'Northern nature' and 'Misty mornings' that the instrument takes center stage. Rounded bleep's and minimal drone figures lock together, creating mostly contemplative melodic structures . Recognizable sax lines present a rewarding listen, while the challenging harmonic figures give the album subtle twists and turns . Obviously similar textures to these sounds could be made with a guitar and laptop. But where as the harmonic structures are often found with guitar based drone music tend tobe quick changing and 'post-rock' in design. The sax with its single note choice and varied selection of scalar and arpeggio templates , allows the body of this album to focus on the 'note-interplay' of the songs , instead of being washed over by swathes of E-bowed guitar chords.

The album end's with a clever interplay of field recordings, processed rhythmic figures and restrained drone work. These field recordings balance the album well and show Taishi's deft use of recorded material and 'album length' concepts.

a thoughtful album with lots of interesting ideas and themes,a real headphone listen that will prove rewarding listen for the drone and micro sound fan