From collaborating with the likes of Arto Lindsay (Ambitious Lovers), Caetano Veloso or Ichiko Aoba, through contributing to the Wim Wenders' 2011 Piana Bausch documentary soundtrack or providing the score to Joseph Ceder's 2016 feature film Norman, to even composing the music for Mercedes-Benz commercials, Japanese composer/trumpeter Jun Miyake (三宅 純)'s creativity seems inexhaustible. After compiling and producing the very intimate 2018 homage Last Picture (Cristal Records) to his late friend and collaborator Dairo Miyamoto, the Paris-based sound designer is back with an exciting new joint-venture in partnership with his other long-time collaborator, singer Kyoko Katsunuma. As usual, on Colomena Miyake's leanings towards avant-garde pop share the floor with jazz sensibilities and diversified arrangementsall presented in an intimate acoustic frame that enchants with sophistication and detail. Katsunuma's crystal clear vocals are both flexible and unique, demonstrating a soft falsetto in chamber jazz context and spicy cries on groovier exhibitions. Musically, the two share a lot of common ground and their compositional approaches meld without leaving a scar.
Like on Miyake's previous albums genre and instrumentation shift frequently yet coherently throughout. Katsunuma-penned "Torne" opens the album with pop-glazed, danceable immediacy. Sonic details and elegant instrumental interjections dissect the song and give it an exotic flavor to which Katsunuma's voice adds catchy hooks. Careful classical-guitar strokes channeling bossa-nova vibes are elegantly layered in the mix and, in interplay with Myake's distinguished Fender Rhodes ornamentations, pull through the record like a thread. The guitar's intimate and precise employment is especially prominent when split in two and divided over the speakers as demonstrated on "Flutta" or "Koralo." "Izuit An," "Frostita" or "Luce" are treated to almost orchestral proportionsfeaturing brass as well as stringsand justify Miyake's distinguished presence as a film composer and sound producer. A polyphone choir exercise, not dissimilar to the practice of Georgian choirs, breaks the sequence of the percussion-driven pop songs "Lotuso" and "Speguro." At times, even in-depth knowledge of the Japanese language won't help deciphering what Katsunuma's syllables add up to, seeing how they are often figments of her imagination that go with the music, as stated by the artist herself.
On Colomena's every note, each sound and all colors are carefully composed and placed at a specific position of the room and a particular moment in time. Kyoko Katsunuma observed Miyake's eye and ear for detail early on and talks about him in the liner notes: "'imprints of experiences' live vivaciously in his music transcending time, where every note has a unique spark to itself." His special sense for capturing profound emotions in music is what also convinced her to follow him in his move to Paris in 1995. The "imprints of experiences" she talks about refer to "internal voices" within each person which are born out of past experiences and, according to Katsunuma, guide the individual in their DNA throughout their lives. This album represents the memory of her journey in life and provides the listener access to her personal "internal voice" to rediscover the imprints of her ancient memories. A gesture that is as intimate as it is courageous which, with that context in mind, makes for a most compelling album.
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