Takuroku: Invisible Review (Ikue Mori)

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Matthew Perrett reviews Invisible by Ikue Mori, released under Takuroku — Cafe Oto’s digital label supporting artists in lockdown.

Ikue Mori’s recent work gathers seemingly disparate threads and pulls them into material of great beauty, luxurious and complex. Her musical language, these days coaxed from a laptop, is one of shifting sands whose granular streams course in all directions; it embraces chaos, sensuality, whimsy and much more besides. This new release is described beguilingly as “aural holograms of dreams shot through crystal” and “a haze of tropical music concrete”. Here are some of the aural holograms that were conjured in my mind’s ear:

midnight aquarium (extract)

A shoal of strange fish (silver scales glinting in the moonlight) follow the jet black currents of midnight aquarium until they find a pulsing, bioluminescent ostinato which soon disperses and melts back into the dark waters. A shining piece of obsidian is dropped into a pool of mercury.

The pleasingly naive melodies of seventh dwarf have indeed had their growth checked and as they jostle about, their relationships with one another shift slightly (as relationships are wont to do). If you put one of Cage’s prepared piano pieces through a homemade electronic mangle it probably wouldn’t sound like this but then again it might. The brief coda is shimmering, slightly avian.

imaginary codes (extract)

Imaginary codes opens with competing streams of febrile, choppy percussiveness which coalesce into more sinuous central flow (though still with some atmospheric turbulence) that soon evaporates whilst the stern opening of room2 fairies gives way to more amiable, chiming melodies. These wander aimlessly, enjoying the more relaxed landscape, until the glittering sands are churned up and the view is obscured once more. It rains diamonds on Jupiter.

room #2 fairies (extract)

The last track, more fairies, is somewhat like a pixilated suburban nightscape where chirping nature sounds blend with another melodic fragment that chases its own tail.

This is music that seems to operate according to that half-asleep logic where vague thoughts entwine and impossible profundities are glimpsed. In a time when some of us have found dreaming difficult, Ikue Mori has rendered hers in sound. Come and hear.

All tracks by Ikue Mori, artwork design by Oli Barrett.

You can buy the record here – 50% of profits support the artist and 50% support Cafe Oto.

Michael Perrett is a composer and improvisor who makes music with clarinets, saxophones and other things. Along with David Birchall and Adam Fairhall he forms Minimum Wage Immanence Unit, a group consistently fond of drones.

He has also enjoyed collaborations with THF Drenching, Mark Hanslip, Ecka Mordecai, Otto Willberg and others.

Twitter: @Perrett_M

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