Aki Onda

Precious Moments

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Very much like Yoshio Machida's Hypernatural #2, Aki Onda's Precious Moments offers 40 minutes of easy listening modern compositions made with electronics and traditional instruments. Both CDs were released in September 2001 as Softl Music's launch batch. But while Machida's music still retains an edge, Onda's fades out very quickly, becoming wallpaper music for the enlightened or the avant-garde music fan. Precious Moments is well-written and performed, and includes an appearance by Kazutoki Umezu on clarinet (he co-wrote "Toward a Place in the Sun," the opening track). But his stew of field recordings; instruments like acoustic guitar, kalimba, and light synthesizers; and soft electronics doesn't convince in terms of artistic vision. It's entertaining and very soothing, but it lacks substance. Still, those looking for delicately crafted pieced with almost-naïve melodies and a touch of modern glitch electronics will probably get something out of it. The Umezu piece is particularly good, thanks to a slow theme made of long, sustained notes. Other good moments can be found in "Someplace" (featuring wind and acoustic guitar) and the closer, "Gazing into the Eyes, Then Closing the Eyes," which is three minutes of kalimba and field recordings.

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