Morimoto Naoki “Kuuhaku”

Each little snippet on Japanese composer Morimoto Naoki’s Kuuhaku feels like a cool breeze whispering across your neck. There’s a gentleness to his work that slows life to a crawl as passing imagery reduces to still shapes. Kuuhaku exudes pastoral environments while still transmitting a potent, infectious current.

Looping tones fracture and fall to the side, circling through intricate patterns to return again on pieces like “aima” and “kuu.” The cut-and-paste nature adds further delicacy to soundscapes that are already intricate and papery. Acoustic guitar plucks are small glimmers in the distance. Open arms long for an embrace, yet we feel content in the open air as the wind rustles the leaves above. Naoki simply holds these gossamer moments and appreciates them, never wishing for them to be something other than what they are. 

There’s such a beautiful sentiment running through Kuuhaku that, as I close my eyes to fully absorb these aural vignettes, I find myself feeling quite emotional. Rain falling against a window as Naoki plays quiet laments on guitar give the sense of crying on “lili,” repeating notes tugging at forgotten memories, bringing them back to the surface. “stel” brims with anticipation, synthesizer drones resonating against chiming electronic detritus as subtle joy coalesces. Kuuhaku thrives in these small passages.

As it floats downstream and into the furthest reaches of our consciousness, Morimoto Naoki’s Kuuhaku is a breath of fresh air. Throughout these miniature organic universes, a quiet blanket wraps around us, holding us in these warm, welcoming spaces until we’re ready to move on. Kuuhaku is quite lovely.  

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