kotonoha is ironomi’s 8th album and first ever release on vinyl. A tonal portrait of microscopic nuances particular of a Japanese midsummer saunter through deep emerald green forests and tranquil fields, transcribed into a meditative pastoral reverie created with crystalline piano playing, lute acoustics and real-time processing.
The title kotonoha (琹の葉) comes from a poetic anachronistic metaphor, combining form of leaves (葉 ha) and plucked string instruments (琹 koto) depicted in classical antiquity. With a distinctive sound that matches the sonic architecture of Japanese aesthetics, ironomi adds kotonoha into their extensive catalog already defined by its uniquely committed minimalism and serenity.
kotonoha was originally built on a sequence of four continuous scenes that makes up one long-form composition. The titles of these improvisational pieces (shioribi, namisora, ayumikaze, hagoromo) invoke a literal kind of sensuous, fleeting phenomena. The beauty and charm of these tracks lie in their impressionist fusion with Japanese nature and sensibilities. ironomi’s pieces rarely build and despite their sparse acoustic density, they have a presence that cuts sweetly into the listener’s reality. ironomi created their very own brand of “environmental music”, the literal translation of the Japanese term kankyo ongaku (環境音楽) – music designed to harmonise with, rather than dominate, its natural surroundings. In the specific spatial context of kotonoha, the record heals the aural sense away from our jangling cities and restless daily environments.
The album includes two additional compositions tsukishirube and maigo, the latter being regularly featured as the concluding passage that brings ironomi’s live performances to an end. The expanded cadence remained a firm fan-favourite since 2010 and now documented in recording for the first time.
ironomi releases kotonoha on 30 August 2019 via KITCHEN. LABEL worldwide. Available on limited edition translucent green vinyl LP (Estimated shipping – 29 Sep 2019), CD and digital formats, with artwork by Tokyo-based photographer Yoichi Onoda. This record is mastered by Gen Tanabe at Studio Camel House in Yamanashi, Japan.
Pre-order the album on LP and CD from our store: