Audion #15 July 1990

MOTOHIKO HAMASE #NOTES OF FORESTRY
(Newsic 32CD-N001) CD:38m

Hamase's recording of minimal/post-minimal music is clearly inspired by Steve Reich, but it has a lovely Zen pantina and serene air that is so often characteristic of Japanese composes. Like Reich, Hamase favours the timbres of woodwind instruments (synthesized or sampled), piano, mallet instruments and percussion, augmented by electronics and studio treatments. However, the underlying pulse is not quite as insistent as Reich's, and the harmonic language is a bit more complex and dissonant, though Hamase in no way abandons tonality. The somewhat spikey woodwind melodies and interlocking patterns of NUDE are reminiscent of Reich's brilliant woodwind writing in TEHILLIM and VARIATIONS, and are equally effective. PASCAL is characterized by curious, rocking synthesized flute or recorder ostinatos and periodic angular melodies, with irregular punctuation by electric bass and metal percussion. Hamase makes his most personal and distinctive statement in #NOTES OF FORESTRY, with its angular, but lovely melodies, modular mellet percussion patterns, and a blend of jazz tinged electric bass and flute solos with more rigorous, post-minimal structures and textures. Hamase makes some very special music indeed.
[Newsic, Wacoal Arts Center, 5-6-23 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107, Japan.]

Dean Suzuki