Ear Magazine, April 1991

MOTOHIKO HAMASE
Notes of Forestry
Newsic(CD)

Hamase's brand of minimal, or perhaps more accurately, post-minimal music has a lovely Zen patina and the gentle air that characterrizes the work of many Japanese composers. Like Steve Reich, Hamse favors woodwind instruments (sampled or synthesized), piano, and , especially, mallet percussion - timebres fleshed out and augmeted by electronics and various studio processes. Unlike much other minimal music, the underlying pulse, while present, is not insistent. In addition, the individual harmonies are at times complex and rich, even dissonant, though Hamase never abandaons tonality. " Nude" features interlocking patterns and rather spiky woodwind melodies, while "Pascal" is characterized by unlikely rocking ostinatos and angular melodies for flute or recorder-like timbre, with irregular punctuations from electric bass and metal percussion. Hamase's most distinctive and personal musical statement is delivered in "Notes of Forestry," which combines jazzy electric bass and flute line and oblique, irregular, but lovely melodies with modular mallet petitive structure. Surprisingly, this seemingly incompatible mix of structural rigor and loose, even free musical events works very well indeed.

Dean Suzuki