File this one under “Appropriately Titled Albums.” Juta Takahashi’s Transcendence will absolutely take you out of yourself and escort you to a deep and meditative place filled with gorgeous sound. Presenting four mid-range tracks (16 to 17 minutes each), Takahashi aims for maximum soul/body displacement and hits his mark. Each piece finds its own to get you there. “Higurashi” is bright and quiet, its long-arcing pads sustained in higher registers. There’s something of a spacemusic feel at play, but it’s more edge-of-space somehow. Soft piano notes blend with the electronics to ground the piece. “Nirvana Électronique” is, I think, my favorite piece here. It uses a drone like a tambura or harmonium to buzz and burrow its way into your head. A wavering tone falling somewhere between flute and a bowed string instrument sings intermittently. I like the way Takahashi marks the flow’s passage with shimmering pads that rise up above the drone. “Maitrī” slots firmly into the spacemusic mode with crystalline pads and softly ringing chimes. Pay attention to how well Takahashi uses pauses and fades here. There is no hurrying your transcendent state; there is just these warm sounds surrounding you and the patient slowness of your breathing as you listen. The title track comes back to the bright tones of the opener and takes the listener on an easy glide on rich pads. Again, it’s warm and comforting, unhurried and deeply layered. Slow-motion dynamics imbue the flow with emotion–when the sound swells, you feel it in a very real way.
I have been enjoying Juta Takahashi’s music for a few years now, and I have to say that I think Transcendence finds him at his highest point yet. This is an ambient masterwork, a piece that resonates deeply within the listener and truly carves out a very personal space. It’s perfect for meditation, although left to its own devices, it’s likely to simply cause a meditative state to occur. I don’t think there’s anyway around it once you let these sounds in. This is a close-your-eyes-and-let-go album. Obviously, deep/headphone listening reaps marvelous rewards. But just let this one loop within your space and see where it takes you. I guarantee you’ll go somewhere nice. A must-hear, outstanding piece of work from Juta Takahashi.
Available from Juta Takahashi’s web site.