The Japanese sounddesign artist’s latest is rich in beauty, emotion and atmospheric presence. Mirage’s aural complexities are influenced by the sounds Hatakeyama experienced wafting through the labyrinthian bazaars whilst travelling in Turkey. Highly textured, dense and full of murky tones, the album lingers like a distant memory. His compositions are built of hazy layers, dimmed melodies, elongated pads and distorted field recordings. Hazy, delicate and dreamlike, the atmosphere is intense and deeply immersive, creating a feeling of something just out of reach. Its post-ambient experimentations emit style and grace that adds an artistic and cinematic feel to the whole album. Haunting, solitary and forlorn, yet underpinned by a sense of inner peace and calm, Mirage feels laid bare with a gentle and quiet confidence. It’s within these contradictions and its overriding soulful sincerity that this record’s delights truly begin to emerge. A masterful album from a powerfully skilled artist, this is Hatakeyama at his expansive best.
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Starlight and Black Echo,| Voices on the Corner, Phantom| Cats in Cathedral| 8/10