Iu Takahashi “Late in Life”

Late in Life is my first exposure to Iu Takahashi and since first listening to it a few weeks ago, I find myself continually drawn back to its warm presence. Slow moving compositions unfold in ways that are relaxed yet covered in an air of mystery. Takahashi’s touch is gentle, never pushing too far and opting for subtle movements and soft pronouncements instead of something more grandiose. Of course, it leaves the deepest marks because of this, sticking with you like a pivotal memory etched in glass.

Pads swell through crystalline clouds as a disembodied voice loops in the air like a graceful dove outlining the sun on the hypnotic “Forest and Thought.” Takahashi gives each element enough space to spread out, but the ways in which the synths and vocals surprisingly intertwine flit between melancholic and elegant. Late in Life is an album of small moments like these that only reveal their lasting importance long after the final notes of the hopeful flares of “Daydreaming.”

Recordings of water will always play on my emotions. There are such distinct feelings associated with those sounds for me that, when incorporated well, hit home. Whether it’s the soft drum of rain on “Vacant House” or the blissful drips of “Lotus,” I am easily trapped in these aural passages. “Lotus” bristles with insects and birds while tender synth currents pass by like shadows in motion Transported to a peaceful night garden, the sounds are all-encompassing and deeply immersive where “Vacant House” is more distant, the rain acting as a way to wash certain thoughts away. Takahashi navigates all these separate avenues with skill and grace.

I was not ready for the impact Late in Life would have on me, but there’s something to be said for the unexpected. The only description offered by Regional Attraction is all you really need, though: “Themes for looking back at where you’ve been and what you’ll leave behind.” Simple. Poignant. Beautiful. Just like Late in Life.