Hiroki Sasajima – Bells 7.2
"Bells” is an amplified form of life. All those tiny, almost insignificant noises you hear in your daily life are raised to a near-obscene volume. This is a giant sea of sound. Only the guitar reminds you that this is a composition, as its ambient quality makes the sound lean towards field recordings. Hiroki Sasajima allows the recording to evolve naturally, showing off the splendor and oftentimes elegance of the sound itself.
The transitions from one sound to the next are extraordinarily gradual. Eventually the amount of underlying tension breaks into elegant passages, such as the period around the ten minute mark where the background noises are blocked out for a vaguely classical drone. I’m heavily reminded of dark, isolationist work such as Illusion of Safety’s more recent work. “Bells” never gets outright violent or noisy, but the threat always exists for such an explosion of sound.
Around the twenty minute mark Bells gets tender. Tones slowly relax. Background noises become prevalent once more. Everything appears to slow down, to drop in intensity before the loud ending coda. What ends this album is a vibrating, near gong-like sound which sort of shocked me out of the complacency of the ten minutes of bliss.
Hiroki has an album which spans several different moods: from surreal to tense to mellow to an ending shock. Considering its short length and gradual passage (the album does move slowly) this is quite an accomplishment. “Bells” is best when played loud.