222 - Song for Joni
"A pure journey inward into the headspace of an artist, that reveals his gaze at the Earthly zones he walks in: Song for Joni, the new album by Japanese musician Shunji Mori, offers pure natural music full of artificial nuances, creating a conversation with analog tones. A new kind of musical nature, loaded with vibrant seasons, unknown to the unwise humans. The album is a fine continuation of Japan's rich ambient leaning music traditions, carrying them into Lorren Connor's like pending guitar galaxies. In the 1990s, Tokyo based Mori was part of the trip-hop, nu-jazz, deep house, and down-tempo duo Natural Calamity, releasing a string of albums and EPs on labels like legendary London based imprint Nuphonic, Japanese Idyllic Records, or Down 2 Earth Recordings. In 2003, he launched the instrumental guitar duo Gabby & Lopez with his buddy Masayuki Ishii. Together they created three albums and performed live. Additionally, Mori plays improvisational concerts with Japanese musician, multi-instrumentalist, and stage director Daiho Soga and finds time to invent his very own, charismatic guitar music. His solo work now finally gets introduced with a full-length album for Studio Mule, consisting of recent compositions and ones that a decade old, all merely recorded with the electric guitar, pedals, and field recordings. In the center of Song for Joni is the guitar, spreading longing, drifting melodies. Free floating, yet deeply felt compositions, performed in an accurate journey music style. Around the strings, ambient landscapes soar and vanish. In some moments, the guitar works like a slow-mo yacht rock lead, flying speed less over and under imaginative sonic clouds. Then, Mori's music distributes psychedelic effects in the tradition of krautrock legends like Günter Schickert, just without the echo fuzz. Additionally, in warm vibrating seconds, his creations are reminiscent of the calm flashes in the musical work of English photographer, musician, and artist designer Steve Hiett, while Mori's ambient spheres come close to the magic vibe of records like Pier & Loft by his fellow countryman, Hiroshi Yoshimura. A mixture that transports considerate listeners into a meditative world, a calm island of bliss, made for all those that follow the heedful path of life." - Studio Mule .