This Japanese collaboration is one of the more subtle slices of epic post-rock I've heard. On first listen it seems a little to sparse and static, but it reveals its beauties gradually, with muted colours and restrained dynamics. The first two movements are a continuous 25 minutes of patient string quartet ruminations. With gently-paced dynamics, it comes across as warmly meditative rather than repetitive and circular. The strings finally ebb away into a very quiet, lingering loop which joins exquisitely into the third movement. This is based on a Dave Gilmour-like guitar theme, developed in a pleasingly familiar way by just adding and taking away sounds over a large scale. The very interesting fourth movement is a welcome break from the more conventional post-rock sound, a mist of half-distant wordless voices mingling over hesitant piano figures. A broad sustained chant-type tune on clarinets forms the basis of the big arching finale - we know how the crescendo and diminuendo are going to play out here, but it's all done with taste and restraint.
September 4, 2008