Takeshi Nishimoto – Lavandula

The ever consistent Sonic Pieces have continued to supplement their impressive catalog this year with some great material. Much of their roster has provided household Modern Classical/Electro Acoustic maestros such as Erik Skodvin, Dustin O’Halloran and Greg Haines and for this reason alone, Sonic Pieces have become one of those labels where you feel compelled to buy every release. This label is built upon quality alongside simple but beautiful packaging.

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see Takeshi Nishimoto as the most addition. This is NOT because Sonic Pieces have lapsed their careful curatorial policy but rather because Nishimoto is a name that some may be unfamiliar with. This extremely talented Japanese guitarist has released but one previous album, ‘Monologue’ out on Buro way back in 2007, some six years prior. Fortunately I am familiar with Nishimoto’s work and own Monologue, an all-time favourite and so his follow up for Sonic Pieces ‘Lavandula’ was an automatic purchase.

As a massive ‘ambient’ music fan, my taste covers the full-spectrum of the genre from the melancholy and beauty of modern classical music, to the droning electro-acoustic soundscapes and onto the more folk/traditional sound. I guess in some respects, Lavandula fits more into this folk/traditional bracket in that the seven compositions place Nishimoto’s incredible guitar playing to the fore. What makes this particular sound appealing is its immediate accessibility despite its naturally relaxing (or ‘ambient’) characteristics. The guitar tells a story, weaves a magical tapestry yet keeps you alert and attentive. For this reason, I guess I am more likely to guitar compositions during daylight – which gives it a special natural warmth. I’ve not heard many records that are as effective as ‘Lavandula’…there are other great records that come to mind such as Danny Paul Grody’s ‘Fountain’ or perhaps Hallock Hill’s ‘The Union’ but there is something unique and unmistakable about Takeshi Nishimoto’s work; whether it being his playing style or the careful use of reverb or restrained use of soundscaping effects. What sets his sophomore album apart from his debut is the subtle use of variety. The brilliant ‘Strassenlaterne’ is a fine example which offers a restrained reversed guitar resting a bed of light noise and electronics. This is continued in the more upbeat ‘6/8’ and in the slow and pensive ‘Apple Tree’ whilst the rest of the album retains the unmistakable magic of his signature sound.

All in all, if you’ve not heard of Takeshi Nishimoto before – do yourself a favour and hit play above. You’ll make your decision as to whether to buy based purely on that. Once you have done so click the image above or HERE