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Hisato Higuchi - She

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Artist: Hisato Higuchi

Album: She

Label: Ghost Disc

Review date: Apr. 7, 2004

This 22-minute EP is apparently the first release from Tokyo-based Hisato Higuchi. Unlike many things I receive out of the blue, this one's quite interesting; it demonstrates that Higuchi has an approach all his own.

The seven songs on She (some of them very brief) all share a sensibility that holds them together, despite a range that spans field recordings and shadowy guitars. The only drawback, perhaps, is the sequencing, which concludes the EP with two experimental pieces. The whole might have benefited from integrating those songs more into the overall flow, but that's a fairly minor nitpick.

The 16-second (no kidding) opener "breath" is just a tone and an inhalation, nicely leading into the meat of the album. "girl.sister" and "ghost.ghosts" both blend gentle guitar work with dreamy vocals. Higuchi's home recordings bathe the sound in a spectral sort of reverb, and his slow delivery gives it all a pleasant narcosis. During "ghost.ghosts" he tosses in surprising eruptions of electronic noises that insinuate themselves into the song. The aptly-titled "guitar" is just that, a short composition of strummed guitar with a delicate, slow lead played over it.

With the last two songs, "ghosts.ghost" and "sister.girl," the EP roams into more experimental territory. The former takes radio-like static and lets it ebb and flow, cresting in density at times but never getting overly harsh. It shows a good sense of dynamics; sometimes the static clears and you can hear organ-like sounds flowing underneath, with pings and quiet piano-like plinking. "sister.girl" is constructed from splashes of buzzing noises with low keyboard tones mixed in amongst the spattering static. It's an unexpectedly pretty song: the noises and keyboards blend to create compelling overtones.

Higuchi's created a very personal, effective set of songs here that clearly stem from a singular personal vision despite the variation in approach. It will be very interesting to see what comes next. This EP is likely difficult to find, so those interested are encouraged to contact the artist via the label's web site, ghost.readymade.jp.

By Mason Jones

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