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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Chihei Hatakeyama
Minima Moralia

Rating: 9/10 ?

March 24, 2006
There isn't much to say about Minima Moralia other than that it is very beautiful. Song titles like "Bonfire In The Field" and "Starlight Reflecting On The Surface Of The River" suggest that minimalist Chihei Hatakeyama draws inspiration from the natural world, and indeed the sounds he creates seem to rise out of nothing, swell, and fall back again like lilting waves or slow-moving clouds. This organic feel gives Minima Moralia an advantage over other minimalist pieces out there; it's smart but not pretentious, simplistic but not boring.

I'm not sure how this album of ringing harmonic tones with a few guitar plucks here and there manages to sound so warm and natural, but it does. Maybe it's Hatakeyama's use of analog instruments processed and expanded ad infinitum that gives Minima Moralia it's ethereal quality; vibraphones provide the basis for many of the songs, guitars and violins come at you so slowly you barely notice them, and bits of electronic noises shine through tiny holes on the surface of Hatakeyama's musical landscape. These extra bits do so little yet are placed so well that each note is like a little treat to be savored. The guitar plucks that grace "Towards A Tranquil Marsh" could be described as a melody or theme, but it feels like each note is it's own little musical microcosm, it's own unique and individual unit. Hatakeyama is careful not to overdo moments like these on the album, and in doing so avoids mundane repetition.

Listening to Minima Moralia is truly a rare experience. You may find yourself putting it in the back of your mind or not paying full attention to the music, but you remain aware that it's there, that you are listening to something strange and inviting. This CD asks nothing of the listener but offers a great deal in which to lose yourself. You would enjoy and understand this if it was the only music you had ever heard before.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown



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