Computer Recital

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As befits Lullatone's bedtimey moniker, and the fact that Shawn James Seymour began crafting these compositions late at night in his tiny Osaka apartment, quietly, so that his girlfriend/collaborator Yoshimi Tomida could sleep, Computer Recital is thoroughly gentle and soothing, an ideal accompaniment for nightcaps and dreamy afternoon naps. It's not completely ambient -- "Coloring," composed entirely of ascending scales at different speeds, might be hypnotically minimalist, but "My Second Favorite Song in the World" (which seems to riff off of "Frere Jacques") is buoyant and melodically peppy, and "Poppy"'s randomly flitting, clustered tones are downright hectic -- but it is unceasingly, breezily tender. The album consists almost exclusively of sine wave tones, the purest, simplest sound possible, which gives it a uniformity of feeling that belies the considerable range in Seymour's simple but engaging compositions. And despite its obvious computer-generated origins, there's a warmth and humanity that comes through, not just in the occasional inclusion of semi-organic elements like the muffled, processed vocals in "Tracing," but in the sweetness and simplicity of the pieces themselves. More akin to the abstractly nostalgic IDM of artists such as isan, Plone, and particularly avowed influence Nobukazu Takemura (whose Childisc label released Lullatone's Japan-only follow-up, My Petit Melodies) than their more distinctive, organic, pop-inclined (i.e., with vocals) and overtly cutesy later work, this debut is nevertheless an endearing and admirable showcase of Lullatone's aesthetic sensibilities and musical capabilities.

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