Hisato Higuchi

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Dialogue Review

by Fran├žois Couture

Dialogue is Hisato Higuichi's first U.S. release, his third overall. It may be a tad short at 35 minutes, but it firmly establishes the identity and uniqueness of this Japanese guitarist. All 13 short songs come from the same mold: delicate, almost hesitating guitar chords -- more touched than played -- and whispered wordless vocals, like powerless lullabies to dead infants. Two names immediately jump to mind: Keiji Haino and Loren MazzaCane Connors. Of Haino, Higuichi borrows that unspeakable frailness in the quiet register, that utter nakedness of the soul; of Connors, he retains the weighty sparseness that implies many more notes than those that are played out, and that peculiar bluesy tinge (especially noticeable in "Guitar #3"). Some tracks are little more than blueprints: "Haijimari No Bamen," only one-minute long, consists of two chords strummed a couple of times and two vocal notes, barely sung, more like two tuned exhalations. Other tracks contain more developed material, such as the haunting melody of "Mitsumeau Sekai Ni" and the aching languor of "Watashi Wa Asa O Matteita." Dialogue puts you in a very specific mood right from the first tune and keeps you there until the last moment. That mood is not new; it intersects with post-rock melancholia and the blues' heartbreak. The method is nothing new either: besides the aforementioned masters, legions of lo-fi and bedroom artists have tackled it. But Higuichi plays with genuine feeling, putting him in the select group of Haino and Connors, not among their more trite followers.

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