A splendid review of FJORDNE “Charles Rendition”, written by Richard Allen for The Silent Ballet. Thank you TSB!
“Rating 8/10. Forget everything you know about Fjordne. Everything. Charles Rendition is not a natural outgrowth ofThe Setting Sun, but an entirely different beast, an ambitious, conceptual, jazz-centered creation based on a short story inspired by Great Expectations. This venture is an enormous left turn for Shunichiro Fujimoto, and could have been commercial suicide, but instead it’s brilliant. The first time I played it, I was put off; the second time I was drawn in; and the third time I criticized my younger self for not appreciating it, back in the distant days before I achieved the wisdom of age (last Tuesday). This sort of risk is rare in the music scene; a more typical risk is the addition of vocals, a new instrument or a harsher edge, not a complete switch of genre. While Fujimoto is to be congratulated for his courage, the Kitchen label also deserves credit for supporting his vision.
Fujimoto’s short story is indeed short, falling into the category of “shock fiction” or “sudden fiction” – stories concise enough to fit on a single page. The enigmatic nature of the artist’s prose matches the caught-between-worlds nature of his music. The press release calls the short story “a morality tale of a forest boy and girl struggling to accept and adjust to the decadence of society”, but it’s best to allow the music to create its own interpretation. Sound effects – a grandfather clock, hurried footsteps, children’s laughter – anchor the narrative in the present, as does the persistent piano. Muted electronic stutters and glitches tug the protagonists toward an uncertain future, while the looped snippets of ancient choirs and orchestras attempt to yank them back to the familiar yet ungleaming past, the supposed safety of “the devil they know”. This gentle yet constant tug of war contributes a sense of tension that keeps the listener riveted, as eager for each new song as an avid reader is for each new chapter. It’s no coincidence that the final track contains the sounds of typing and scrawling; the story is still being written even after the album has ended.
Along the route rest many sonic surprises: a saxophone in a thunderstorm, an old record tucked in a ticking, a detour down the alley of free jazz. Strings and horns play essential roles, as do the occasional drum settings, tilting more toward the snare and brush than the bass and stick. The proceedings culminate in the album’s centerpiece, the lovely “hope”, featuring tender vocals by the alluring Fuyu. This piece, even more than the rest, exemplifies Charles Rendition‘s languid nighttime vibe. One can imagine the half-feral, half-civilized children approaching from the forest, enticed by the sound of comfort yet succinctly aware that the music may cast a deceptive spell. The same experience is shared by the listener, who swiftly notices that each track seems to shelter another track. There’s constant movement in the background, whether it be the tolling of a chime, the lengthening of a chain or the echoes of a late night party. Such juxtapositions provide an initially disorienting, yet eventually grounding sense that the album is unfolding live, despite the fact that it is clearly a studio creation. This aural alchemy is the key to Charles Rendition‘s effectiveness, as it mirrors the temporal conflict established by the dueling sound sources.
A few albums into his career, Fjordne has put all his money on red and come out in the black. Charles Rendition may be an experiment, but it doesn’t sound like one; it sounds like the work of a confident composer who is running just a little ahead of his time. But given the concept of the album, this may be just how Fujimoto likes it.”
haruka nakamura & ARAKI Shin will be performing at Gallery Trax (Yamanashi, Japan) on the 13th August. Performance will also feature songs by Aoba Ichiko and drummer isao saito. Presented by our esteemed partner, evam eva, here is a trailer video above for a glimpse of the space. Tickets for this event is sold out. Thank you for your support.
evam eva presents「8月の夕べ」
pf & guitar haruka nakamura
pf & saxophone ARAKI Shin
drums isao saito
visual : umetsu yasuhiro
Supported by KITCHEN. LABEL
aspidistrafly will be performing a special set at Goodman Arts Centre (Singapore) on the 15th August for “Project Fukushima!” – an initiative to raise awareness and to keep Fukushima alive and connected with a series simultaneous shows happening in Japan and around world. “Project Fukushima!” is started by respected Japanese musicians Otomo Yoshihide, Michiro Endo and Ryoichi Wago.
Event : Fukushima! (Singapore)
Date : 2011.8.15
Time : start 20:00
Venue : Goodman Arts Centre
Live Acts : Hanging Up The Moon, Aya Sekine + Angie Seah,
aspidistrafly, Dharma + Shaun Sankaran, Tim O’Dwyer + Ian Woo,
Leslie Low + Yuen Chee Wai.
For more details about the rest of the Fukushima! shows happening in Japan and all around the world on 15 Aug
- Official Project Fukushima! website