Juta Takahashi, Silence

There is not much silence on Juta Takahashi’s new release, Silence. There is, however, an abundance of reflective, slow-moving ambient music. In four long tracks, the shortest clocking in at 13 and a half minutes, Takahashi gently escorts the listener through his carefully developed visions. Each stands alone perfectly, particular elements in each providing a recognizable personality; together they create an inspiring, relaxing suite. The opener, “Ararat,” takes its character from the crisp strike of a sampled Turkish cimbalom (dulcimer), placing a traditional-music feel against long, tonally sharp pads. In “Wet Dream,” shimmering and burbling clusters of electronics are punctuated by intermittent piano notes, a brief gleam of sunlight on water. Now and then a rush of pads rises up like a breeze. “Continua Shift” is a warm current of soft sound going nowhere in particular and in no hurry to get there. Here, wide, amorphously undulating pads are gently offset by what sounds like a voice in the distance, singing in harmony. This is an easy piece to get completely lost in. “Silence” completes the journey with chords that come in slow succession, fading almost to the titular quietude before the next rises. Takahashi’s sense of the effect of a pause is flawless; each is like the moment between breaths, the space held to a point of perfection. Take the moments after the last note disappears to simply be aware. All in all, Silence is much like a wordless guided meditation.

The underlying quality in Takahashi’s work is a consistent patience. It often seems that he wants to see where a note will go if left to its own devices. He crafts these sounds, breathes life into them and then sets them on their way. The result is pure ambient bliss, beatless and engaging. Silence is yet another superb release from an artist who is rapidly becoming one of my favorites.

Available from CD Baby.

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