Hakobune – love knows where (Constellation Tatsu, 2015)


It’s pretty difficult to talk and review Drone music in the same sense as “normal”, melodic music; I suppose in many ways Ambient is rather the same and quite troublesome to talk about in a conventional manner, but Hakobune’s serene and luxurious guitar drones in love knows where are really an excellent example of how it is infinitely better to simply listen to and experience the music for yourselves rather than read roundabout words on its simple and organic constructions. Comprised of just 3 tracks spanning half and hour, delicate drone and light synth excitations are our guides, a fragile and barely substantive journey that descends quickly into glumness but still manages to grip ahold of serenity and blissful atmospherics.

“rapids” is the deceptive opener, hardly akin to its namesake as it spins out glassy and ethereal movements of drone, crystalline reflections from the surface of a millpond. It feels and sounds grey, slatey, the currents moving below the surface reflecting a dull and unimpressionable sky above, with only a few weak ripples catching the light across its span in fringe eddies, imperfections at the edges of our course that threaten to disrupt the placidity of the surface. It sounds a lot like a Marble Sky piece actually, except much more tempered and constrained, as though its murky depths hold a deeper emotional wellspring dying for some turbulence so as to be brought out. Its organic folds and swirls sound almost unsure of themselves, hunting for the best course as they roll over the unpredictable rock below.

Hints of melancholia do begin to peek through in the short excursion of “curtains far seen”, falling into Kyle Bobby Dunn territory in its tidal guitar rotations and idiosyncratic smears welling up a new depth of character previously unseen, thoughts rising unbidden and evoking anxious thrums and regretful waves in the densest and most impactful piece of the lot. It feels taught in its abstractions, strained almost, and yet somehow everything still feels perfectly under control, progressing smoothly and effortlessly forwards with the same collected calmness of the opener. Before we know it, its glowing harmonies slip into the minimally evocative and withdrawn loneliness of closer “love knows where”, all previous energy built up thus far immediately becoming dissipated in exchange of meagre and haunting drone darkness, only a few motions rising across its slightly listless surface as it spirals into a dark fugue, wallowing in a silence and isolation that it has brought up around itself. Its not a lifeless void, more of a black well running dry, its bottom cool and indistinct in the darkness, waiting patiently to be replenished by an exterior force when the time is right again.

It’s an entrancing journey, make no mistake, but its minute textural migrations and thoughtful evolutions cannot be adequately put down in words; its quietly crystalline atmospheres filled with many careful layers need a personal touch to unravel their emotional complexities, sensitively unwrapping its miserable spiral as it peters out into an empty void. It clamours silently for help but no one hears, love slipping through the cracks, our efforts too weak and too late. This is one of the best Drone pieces to come out this year, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not listening to this humble and introverted little number.