Susumu Yokota Distant Sounds of Summer (with Rothko)

[Lo Recordings; 2005]

Styles: ambient, electronic, post-rock
Others: Lanterna, Durutti Column, Brian Eno

While it may be true that patience is a virtue, with ambient music it is a downright necessity. With Distant Sounds of Summer, two musicians representing the best aspects of the ambient genre have come together to create something that rewards such patience, but also offers a bit more for the casual or partially impatient listener to hold onto. The ever-prolific Susumu Yokota comes from the electronic/production perspective and offers smooth beats and rustling percussion to complement the atmospheric guitarwork of Rothko's Mark Beazley. Additionally, holding over from another recent collaboration with Beazley, Caroline Ross of Delicate AWOL provides lush vocals for Yokota and Beazley to work into their mix. The results are just short of heavenly.

"Deep in Mist" kicks off the affair with a bolder hip hop beat than Yokota has used in a while. With the beat, a deep but sparse bassline lumbers along with some subdued piano in tow, and before long, Beazley's twanging guitar emerges with Ross's voice, floating quite ethereally above it all. The overall effect is a truly comforting sonic gauze. Most other tracks are more reserved, like "Lit by Moonlight" or "Distant Sounds of Summer" where the tracks are dominated by gorgeously languid guitar playing with Yokota's electronic embellishments periodically emerging and disappearing like a haunting fog. However, the album as a whole morphs continually, and it never really rests for long with any one sound. While Beazley's guitar and (samples of) Ross's voice are the most dominant instruments throughout, there are plenty of stretches where neither are heard. As with all Yokota projects, this album is the result of precise control and deliberate constraint, making it a lovely way to sooth frayed nerves or a troubled head.

1. Deep in Mist
2. Waters Edge
3. Path Fades into Forest
4. Lit by Moonlight
5. Brook and Burn
6. Sentiero
7. Clear Space
8. Reflections and Shadows
9. Distant Sounds of Summer
10. Floating Moon

Most Read