[26 October 2006]
The musicians’ credits for Dialogue are simple. “Hisato Higuchi”, they read, “Electric guitar, vocals”. That is all. This Tokyo musician was a puppeteer in his earlier years, but now he makes compositions that consist of slowly resounding guitar strums. His tunes begin at a point of stillness and well outwards in wave after wave of tiny, pregasmic climaxes. On occasion, he lets out a husky breath, or a wordless sound that sits somewhere between a groan, a hum, and a sigh. There’s a delicacy here that you suspect would be violated by anything so vulgar as a lyric. Higuchi makes the most non-concrete of noises, a spiderweb of fog and overlapping reverberations that sometimes suggests the work of the London-based musician Mark Beazley. It’s intimate without seeming interior or reticent. You need to live in a country like Japan to make music like this; it emerges unhurried from a stable place where safety and comfort seem assured. It’s the feeling that comes after your other, more basic needs for food and shelter and excitement have been satisfied. This is the simple meditation that follows prosperity.