Masayoshi Fujita Apologues Erased Tapes
From the legendary triad of Glass, Reich and Riley to the electronic and immaculately intricate sounds of Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works I and II, minimalism has slowly been creeping down the mainstream trajectory and into the ears of the music loving masses for some time now, though the style hasn’t felt this prevalent for years.
Released by Erased Tapes (Nils Frahm, Winged Victory For the Sullen etc.), Apologues sees Berlin-based Fujita and his well-loved vibraphone incorporate an array of brass, strings and percussion into a finely layered score. The album consists of eight self-contained tracks and although generally pleasant listening, fail to go further than second gear, as Fujita’s pulsating rhythms and repetitive harmonies tiptoe coyly from variation to variation.
You need only to listen to the hollowed-out harmonic tone of the strings and rippling resonance of the vibraphone to see why Fujita intended Apologues to be a sonic representation of nature. There is a purity to the album which makes it altogether satisfying; however, what Fujita lacks is the tugging emotion crafted by the aforementioned ambient stalwarts. If the former are to be considered the pinnacle of ambience, then Apologues errs on the side of simplicity.
Nevertheless, there are some tracks – notably Flag and Puppet’s Strange Dream Circus Band – that do pull on our emotional threads. Quaint string motifs flow smoothly into a neo-romantic wave of yearning, and shyly recoil back into a state of introspection, but although these scratch the emotional surface, the album remains but a pretty sheen on what is otherwise a fleshless beast.