Tag Archives: Chihei Hatakeyama

The Best New Ambient Music on Bandcamp, May 2018

Ambient

There are infinite atmospheric worlds available on Bandcamp. From the dreamy to the nightmarish, and the meditative to the deeply unsettling, these compositions often fall under the ambient umbrella. Albums without words that are deeply thoughtful and thought-provoking in their own way—these releases come from all corners of the globe. Every month, Aurora Mitchell will take you through the best ambient releases. In this edition, there’s spooky chirping crickets, digitally-created winds meant to induce different kinds of brainwaves, and musings on solitude. Continue reading

Found Sounds from the Edge of Earth

Found Sounds

Sound Field recording in Iceland.  Photo by Finnbogi Petursson.

There are certain sounds that can’t be born in the confines of a studio or created after countless hours spent fiddling with expensive synthesizers. The meditative drone of a rainforest can’t be replicated by a Juno, and a drum machine will never echo the repetitive, crashing pulse of a waterfall. Field recording, the act of capturing often unexplored terrain with a microphone and a pair of headphones, is one way to archive these sounds. Continue reading

The Best New Ambient Music on Bandcamp, August 2017

best-ambeint-600

There are infinite atmospheric worlds available on Bandcamp. From the dreamy to the nightmarish, and the meditative to the deeply unsettling, these compositions often fall under the ambient umbrella. Albums without words that are deeply thoughtful and thought-provoking in their own way—these releases come from all corners of the globe. Every month, Aurora Mitchell will take you through the best ambient releases. In this debut edition, we present releases from both June and July. There’s environmental field recordings sourced from a trip to Turkey; nostalgic, Boards of Canada-indebted sounds from Russia; and beautiful, nature-heavy ambient from Japan.

Huron, The Red Tape

Huron is the project of Pennsylvania-based musician Johnny Lancia. He’s been releasing slowly drifting sounds on Bandcamp for over 10 years now—with his first physical release, the yellow tape, getting a very limited run cassette back in 2015. Lancia is now presenting listeners with a followup, the red tape, composed using synthesizers, obsolete samplers, and tape loops. The A-side is spaced-out, with drone growling quietly underneath pixelated, looped melodies. The B-side is more ominous and tense; “Return to Three Springs” features crawling, sharp synths, and growling robotic pulses emerging from the void.

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The White Paddy Mountain Label Offers Soothing Sounds Full of Grace and Beauty

Kenikeda, Federico Durand, Satomi Magae

From the left: Kenikeda, Federico Durand, Satomi Magae.

Japanese ambient/minimalist composer Chihei Hatakeyama first netted American attention with his 2006 album Minima Moralia, an album full of engaging, contemplative songs on the beloved label Kranky. He’s released a number of other records in the intervening years, and has since expanded his resume to include “label owner,” with his own White Paddy Mountain.

Hatakeyama followed a winding path into the music industry, as he explained over a series of email exchanges. “I started playing guitar in a cover band while I was a High School student, playing songs by bands like Metallica. Then, in university, I was collecting CDs and LPs, and I formed a post-rock band with other students. We were influenced by Krautrock and the Velvet Underground.” Hatakeyama was also interested in making electronic music, but the equipment he needed in order to do so was costly. When the Mac Powerbook G4 was introduced in 2001, Hatakeyama bought one and began writing songs inspired by people like Stephan Mathieu, Loren Connors, Stars of the Lid, and William Basinski. “Eventually,” he says, “through the Internet, I was able to find others interested in making this kind of music, so I formed a band with Tomoyoshi Date called Opitope.”

Chihei Hatakeyama, founder of White Paddy Mountain.

Chihei Hatakeyama, founder of White Paddy Mountain.

Hatakeyama founded the label White Paddy Mountain in 2010 as a way to “release some live recordings and unreleased tracks,” but eventually it expanded to include numerous collaborations with other artists as well as several standalone albums. “White Paddy Mountain’s philosophy is to release artists who have their own consistent aesthetics, such as ambient music and experimental music,” he says. “From now on, I would like to [release works that] collaborate with traditional Japanese culture, such as ‎the tea ceremony.” Nevertheless, Hatakeyama doesn’t view his work or the label’s as strictly Japan-facing, saying, “I think music is universal. I do not distinguish between music and nationality.”

The label also features a wide variety of striking cover art—Hatakeyama describes each individual image as, “the beautiful collaboration of visual artists and musicians.” We asked him to walk us through seven releases that serve as an introduction to the label, and that reflect its goals and presentation; his quotes are incorporated throughout each description.
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