Hakobune – The Last Of Our Time Together (Past Inside The Present, 2019)

Whenever I go away I have a tendency to get somewhat attached to the places I’ve stayed in or the cars I’ve driven. It’s a peculiarity of mine; I won’t necessarily miss them when I’m gone but I find the moment of departure, especially if I’ve been somewhere for a decent period of time, to be quite difficult. There’s something oddly poignant to me in being the last person out of the holiday let, giving it that final sweep for leftover items and pulling the door closed for the last time. Cars are especially hard to give up once you’ve become accustomed to them and have your little adventures from within their confines. They’re not home, they’re not our vehicle, but they were our responsibility, and they looked after us well: there’s something bittersweet about that parting.

I savour those little moments because there is a certainty to that finality, a knowledge that this will be our last interaction, and that I should recognise it as such. Time seems to politely recede for a short while, just enough to enhance the intimacy of the moment but not far enough to forget its presence. Inexorable force moves along: trains to take, flights to catch, homes to return to, life to live.

This is the nature of “Slowing Expansion”, the billowing drone curtains of its soft contents gently breathing in the winds of change and fortune. It moves with a graceful energy, yet purposeful, its surprisingly genteel airs awash with drone glow as the light seems to slip. Radiance drains from the scene yet it resists like the colours extracted from a sunset, some sense of surging goodness capped in prismatic bending to bathe the soul one in its final moments.

Then it’s time. “The Last of Our Time Together” is as quietly upsetting as its namesake, piano strokes decaying into melancholic smears like tears smudging over cheekbones. It croons with an ache, distant and intractable, drones humming with a palpable malaise that hang heavy over this weighted moment. It feels denser somehow, texturally stuffy and leaden; tones ring out across its mired span like the shockwaves of some brilliant instant shattering through time and space. There’s no room to move, trapped gorgeously between collapse and continuation, the world crumbling and yet bulldozing onwards all the same.

This is just classic Takahiro, effortless and beautiful. It might have something of a foreboding title and intimidating artwork, but don’t let that deceive you. On the inside this is as soft and fragile as the rest of us, just trying to hold its own against heartbreaks both major and minor.