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Hisato Higuchi - Dialogue

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Artist: Hisato Higuchi

Album: Dialogue

Label: Family Vineyard

Review date: Sep. 24, 2006

The 13 songs on Japanese guitar experimentalist Hisato Higuchi’s Dialogue lack nothing. Which is saying something, as there is very little apart from passages of instinctively-wrought guitar figures and the occasional murmur or plaintive sigh of Higuchi’s voice. Blues are here, scales broken down into measured drones and bends and scratches. Tones disintegrate, hiss and hum for a second before disappearing. Notes drop from the sky and land on a grid, Higuchi doing little more than directing, channeling the forces of gravity.

To employ a typically Orientalist image to describe what is a much more diffuse record: Dialogue resembles a garden of stones. Each pebble appears to have been placed without forethought, and yet the entire arrangement leaves nothing to be desired. The pebbles could be an inch or a mile deep, organized according to algorithm or intuition. Higuchi presides at the center of the formation; or, the breathy reminders of his presence provide that center.

“Guitar #3” is the most forceful, if the most forced composition. It is the only point at which Higuchi appears to be convincing the notes to do something they would rather not, to mingle in ways that feel uncomfortable at first. Of course, he succeeds, persuades by force of will, sends stuttering and displaced frequencies to their rightful places.

There is little to differentiate the landscape of Dialogue, but little that compares to it. The scene is mostly barren, devoid of artifice. Besides a touch of distortion, reverb, a trace of tremolo, the music is largely unaffected. Higuchi could be playing a Telecaster through a Fender Twin at the end of the earth – back to us, amplifier to the void.

By Alexander Provan

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