(New Album Review) Tatsuro Kojima- Refraction and Reflection

Tatsuro Kojima is a sound artist with a background in visual arts, and on his second outing for Audiobulb, Refraction and Reflection, one can see his meaning when he says that much of his inspiration as a sound artist comes from non-figurative painters like Mark Rothko. Refraction and Reflection is synaethesic laptop ambient painted in swirling, filamentous strokes.

As is the case with predecessors and possible influences like Taylor Deupree, Sawako, and Wil Bolton, the main pleasure of Kojima’s approach is the very finely-tuned and tactile juxtaposition of timbres that goes into each piece. Tones from field recordings, synths, and, occasionally, piano are processed and arranged so as to create soundscapes all at once airy and furrowed, enveloping and tinny. This aesthetic culminates with the sprawling, serene “Fish Eye”, in which one cannot help but relate the flurry of processed birdcalls and footsteps crawling across the steady drone in the background to a tableaux of details sprawled across a heavily distorted panoramic view. These pieces are impassive, mysterious, inviting– a spooky sense of melody hovers in and out of the mix, muted but not buried, but what is really interesting here is how Kojima’s experiments with processing can make very commonplace sounds seem very alien and looming. Kojima’s work here is as great as anything I’ve heard from the best, and if you are into sound art and ambient music, I can’t recommend Refraction and Reflection to you enough.



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