It is rare to find in Koji Asano's discography an album that seems to be looking back at a previous work instead of urging it onward. But Wind Gauge definitely arches back to You Can't Open the Door Because It's Already Open. This time, in place of an abandoned music room surrounded by the sounds of human activity, Asano the pianist plays at home with the microphones placed in the garden. The improviser awaits a cue from his orchestra and, once the cicadas start singing, he joins them for an improvisation. Despite the artist's claim that he was improvising with the surrounding sounds, the insects, birds, and occasional traces of human life (knocks, like someone hammering something in the second of these six untitled tracks) provide more of a background layer than an interlocutor. His piano playing is graceful, calm, highly melodic, and somewhat naive. It is also more assured than on his previous piano albums, especially the weak Celeste and Preparing for April. The music displays a serenity that has been for the most part absent from Asano's works of the past two or three years. It also has a classical flavor that will puzzle many a listener and disappoint a few. In the end, with or without insects, Wind Gauge provides a pleasurable, if rather unremarkable listen. Released at the same time as the extremely difficult Zoo Telepathy and the collection The Giant Squid, Wind Gauge offers the biggest enigma of the three: why make it so simple and pretty? Maybe to remind you that Koji Asano is not a character you can figure out.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture