Koji Asano

Pheromone

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    8
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The scope of Koji Asano's music is impressive. He can shift from Satie-esque piano ditties to noisy electronic compositions in a nanosecond. But it's one thing to be versatile (a quality already documented on Solstice and Caffeine), it's another to make (or let) the pieces fit into a greater whole. Somehow, Pheromone accomplishes that, although it can be very difficult to explain why. With Asano's previous albums, the listener came out with the impression of a hodgepodge of ideas, the result of a young creative artist under the impression that he had to show all his cards at once. On this fourth album (Gravity was a completely different affair), he found the cohesion factor. Listeners bounce between acoustic guitar tunes (the opener "Neutrino"), piano tunes ("Hormone"), instrumental rockers ("Nuts Bomb"), synthesizer and noise pieces ("Vaporized Blood"), even a recorder solo in a park ("Mandheling Square"). If the pieces are not all satisfying, they do form a "big picture." Is it the slightly dreamy or melancholy mood permeating most of the tracks, the tendency to explore a single idea per piece, or simply that Asano's artistic essence is coming into focus? It makes for a confusing but compelling listen and, in the end, an album you will feel the need to come back to.

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