Hakobune – Landfall (I, Absentee, 2017)



The oceans, dream worlds bounded only by horizon and sky, seemingly limitless expanses that offer tantalising promises of distant shores. Crossing them in all their difficult and tumultuous straits rewards us with places of far removed and unknown origin, new realms of land unravelling to the eye and out beneath the feet just waiting to be explored. One certainly can see the allure of sailing, especially in an era when there still existed some sense of mystery in the world, the promise of discovery.

Landfall traces the transference from water to earth, of terminating voyages from the unsteady unknown. Opening “Pathless” still belongs firmly to the life aquatic, unfurling in crooning drone passages that dip and bob slowly, tracing wavelengths. Crests pitch up and a dim blob of sound rises to crescendo, a waxing and stretching drone that strains its neck to scan the horizon, looking for any sign of land before it sinks softly back into the obscuring troughs. It’s soft, defocused, aimless in the open ocean; without the familiar and stable protuberances of the ground we allow ourselves to be spun and pushed by the water’s whims, directionless.

The next step taken though meets the solid in “Landfall”; at first it doesn’t seem real, the music slowly gaining traction as it begins to regain steadiness and surety on its own two feet. It quickly begins to glow with pleasure, and with the initial indecision passed it begins to spill out rapidly, the square meterage accessible underfoot quickly become too extensive to chart, too vast to touch all of. This is a moment for revelment, and it slow motion evocations fill with an unusual yet palpable pleasure.

The promise of the future is granted to final piece “In The Escaping Sunlight” however, the album continuing its developmental journey as the drones thicken and densify to their greatest point. The day seems to crystallise, light now retreating over the waters that delivered us and disappearing into the encroaching darkness. Yet the impending night is not one filled with worry, rather it, like the ocean that spilled us out only a few tracks ago, will bear us into tomorrow and all that it brings. There’s flashes of uncertainty for sure, moments of creeping doubt in some of the brief lulls, but it seems to surge forwards with such commitment that all those minor concerns pale to insignificance; we’ve arrived and there’s no turning back. We will make the future here bright, it says, and I believe it.