Hiiragi Fukuda

Seacide

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Japanese experimentalist Hiiragi Fukuda supposedly picked up an aging monophonic Yamaha synthesizer, hooked it up to a cheap digital delay, turned on his hand-held cassette machine, and began improvising; a couple days later, the five-song album Seacide was the result. Technically, Seacide certainly sounds like the product of such humble beginnings -- the audio is both hissy and tinny, and there isn't a lot in the way of low range on these performances. But even though Fukuda seems more of a noodler than a serious soloist on these sessions, his noodling is surprisingly effective; these improvisational one-man jams cohere into ghostly soundscapes with edgy personality and a touch of drama, too noisy to be ambient but just graceful enough that they make for a hypnotic accompaniment for the more curious aspects of your life. On the final two numbers, Fukuda throws in some minimalist guitar figures to go with his synth and drum machine, and even though Fukuda is obviously a more gifted guitarist than a keyboard player, the spectral guitar pieces play on an even keel with the synth experiments, with the feel significantly more important than the technique. There's a fine line between improvisation and just goofing off, and Fukuda knows how to stay on the good side of that border; as minimal as it may be, Seacide eases forward with a real sense of purpose, and hearing Fukuda brighten the many corners on set closers "Seashells" and "Breeze" is a mildly trippy delight. If Eno could make Music for Airports, Hiiragi Fukuda can certainly create music for oil-change stations; Seacide is louder and more insistent, but as an aural backdrop for an industrial-era setting, this is honestly satisfying work.

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