My Karuizawa compadres, Karel Arbus and Eiji Takamatsu, return to Max Essa`s Jansen Jardin with a new suite of 6 ambient shorts, collected under the title, Quiet Facility. These are effectively small chamber pieces, with the duo – expanded to a quartet for the sessions – joined by the cello of Mariko Igarashi, and with Keni Kenny on keys. His piano picking out shapes, sparse and lonely, or conversely cascading in quicker carousel patterns – like flashes of fondly remembered happier times. Eiji providing the programmed sighs and chimes, Kankyo Ongaku echoes and a Synclavier-esque sound of muted horns – mirroring the music of gently turning tides. Whistling like spring`s cuckoo. Karel puts his “axe” through all sorts of treatments. Working whizzing and whirring mechanized music box melodies. Sonics somewhere between Francis Bebey`s psychedelic sanza, and Sparky`s magic Joanna. Metallically tapping out time, or dancing, in acoustic duet, with Keni`s piano.
Themes throughout are a tad sad, and a lot cinematic. These are tunes that take Eric Serra and Gabriel Yared on the late night lash – having them share stories of `80s arthouse heartbreak – doomed, dangerous divas, and the beckoning big blue. Moods that pay homage to Joe Hisaishi`s scores for Beat Takeshi`s Yakuza noirs with existential cores – like Sonatine and Hana-Bi. The fireworks now all gone out, but still a vivid memory.
Karel Arbus & Eiji Takamatsu`s Quiet Facility is out now on Jansen Jardin. Order through Bandcamp – who today are once again, for one final time, waiving fees – and help assist the artists.