Hakobune love knows where

[Constellation Tatsu; 2015]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: ambient, drone
Others: Celer, Noveller, Kyle Bobby Dunn, etc. etc.

love knows where, like the rest of Takahiro Yorifuji’s copious — and remarkably consistent — output under the name Hakobune, is a work of subtle and reticent charm. It doesn’t pretend to distinguish itself by means of obvious, ostentatious marks, either within Hakobune’s prolific work or even, I suppose, the genre itself. It’s up to us, miserable bodies that we are, to have developed the requisite organs for the task.

“When objects of any kind are first presented to the eye or imagination,” says David H___, “the sentiment which attends them is obscure and confused. […] The taste cannot perceive the several excellencies of the performance, much less distinguish the particular character of each excellency, and ascertain its quality and degree.” Any judgment that can be made when we’re in this state is general, vague, and (ought to be) hesitant. According to the usual course of things though, experience, practice, and comparison, especially with things falling under the same “species,” should ensure that we are the more capable of clearly discerning the relevant features. “The mist dissipates which seemed formerly to hang over the object: The organ acquires greater perfection in its operations; and can pronounce, without danger or mistake, concerning the merits of every performance.” I can testify to the effectiveness of this process in many cases; in this one, though, I’m not quite sure it applies.

It is, of course, true that the organs can acquire greater perfection in their operations and grasp those individual elements in such a way as to “pronounce” upon them — and I do not wish to entirely abdicate my responsibility here by sidestepping the duty of reporting such sentiments as I have managed to discern. If, for example, I think I can detect a certain “glassiness” in the first track’s calm swells, would I be ridiculed like Sancho Panza’s kinsmen were? The difference, of course, is that unlike the key on a leather thong faintly coloring the taste of the wine, the “glassiness” that I think I’m not mistaken in detecting is merely metaphorical. And I don’t suppose much is to be gained from pointing out the fact that Hakobune uses a guitar and presumably some effects. Still, we can be sure about some things: comparison remains a useful tool. One could imagine two axes capturing the key features of Hakobune’s work, perhaps of the whole ambient/drone “genre,” of which one tracks relative clarity, and the other the relative movement; on such a scheme, this release tends toward the more crystalline end of things and the less dynamic (a full mapping of all Hakobune releases on Bandcamp according to this scheme available on application!). The moods that love knows where touches on consequently are implied through subtlety. While his work can certainly be more “ominous,” that’s not to say that love knows where is without moments where one can feel it; there are hints of melancholia too. But on the whole, the tone is serene, even blissful.

But for all this, the plain fact is that, with Hakobune’s work, the mist can’t ever really dissipate; this isn’t an incidental feature or flaw. Mukqs’s excellent premiere compared the particular examples of Hakobune’s work within his overall output to La Monte Young’s idea that musicians tap into one “primordial composition of infinite duration” when they perform. To try to grasp the part without the whole, out of the context of the whole, is a mistake; to see the whole when we look at the individual parts is impossible. Like Valushka and the whale, it’s a thing of such immensity that we can never take in the whole in one glance — we can see the eye, the mouth, the fin in isolation. But the peculiar aspect of the object means we are always able to experience it as if new — even if Hakobune might not be doing anything particularly novel here from a purely formal perspective — and we had no desire to make things more exact, Even after listening to love knows where numerous times, it still presents itself with a feeling vague and ungraspable throughout, as though it were the first time I’d heard it or anything like it.

Links: Hakobune - Constellation Tatsu

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