Masahiro Sugaya - Horizon Volume 1 (2019 reissue)
Follwing their reissue of the impossible-to-keep-in-stock Music for Nine Postcards, Empire of Signs have now turned their attention towards issuing the first collection of Masahiro's Sugaya's work to be released outside of Japan. A contemporary of the Kankyo Ongaku crew (Yoshimura, Takada, Ojima et al), Sugaya's work states it affinity with the sensibility in its unobtrusively quixotic sense of stillness and calm. Music like water, like air. Yet Sugaya also showcases a slightly different sonic palette that, i think, reveals roots in other traditions. Though the mostly minimal arrangements seem entirely at odds with the Japanese jazz of the seventies, when Sugaya is most turned up, so to speak, I'm reminded of some of Ryo Fukui's unaccompanied and less showy piano pieces, as on Mellow Dream. And as it turns out, that's a fitting epitet for Sugaya's music. This is dream-like, and much less clinical sounding than a lot of Sugaya's contemporaries - it feels more emotional than conceptual. On first listen to 'Until the End of the World', the penultimate track, I immediatley thought of Steve Hiett, music of completely different origin and purpose, but imbued with strange sadness. Kankyo Ongaku is mostly about environment (and product), but Horizons feels like it expreses the humans within it. An alternative, much needed addition to the canon.
LT01: 70% wool, 15% polyester, 10% polyamide, 5% acrylic 900 Grms/mt