Hakobune Sinking Stars

[Beer On The Rug; 2014]

Styles: ambient, drone
Others: Noveller, Celer, countless others

I’m sitting in the waiting lounge at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. I’ve been listening to Sinking Stars for nearly two weeks, pretty much once a day during my short trip to Japan — on the Metro, in the ryokan, walking through a shrine. Perhaps there’s no better place to listen to and fully engage with the music of Hakobune, a creator of relatively static and ambient drone, than in their own country.

It might certainly help, for as with most drone or ambient music that relies upon restraint, graceful touches (as opposed to grand gestures), and/or a dash of melancholia-inducing whim, I really have no context for this music. The album title itself reveals a visual element that could come into play, but Hakobune’s decision to leave tracks untitled contributes to the sense of detachment and delicacy those familiar with the work of Celer would be accustomed to, among perhaps innumerable ambient and drone musicians operating out of Japan and across the internet-based sphere that this music usually takes as its natural setting.

Because what Sinking Stars is presumably all about is the “ambience” that’s so often desired but left wanting in minimal and drone music. Here, Hakobune treads an especially thin path with Sinking Stars, choosing not to move too far into experimental territory by (evidently) selecting the well-trodden route of stretched-and-slowed piano and guitar. The instrumental choices are almost arbitrary in the scheme of the music, which has more to do with the horizontal environments Hakobune seeks to create from and evoke out of — and perhaps about — nothing.

And perhaps arbitrary is a appropriate word to use here. As much as I really loved listening to Sinking Stars during my time in Japan, I can’t imagine a conscious return to it once I return home. This may be poor form on my part, but perhaps Sinking Stars is a kind of nothingness, albeit one of the most beautiful kind. While these drones may be inconsequentially marked, Hakobune turns this inconsequential nothingness into something interesting, continuing his extremely prolific track record while finding something beyond meaningfulness — something essentially ineffable, imperfect, affecting.

Links: Hakobune - Beer On The Rug

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