[sic] Magazine

Near The Parenthesis – Japanese for Beginners

Near The Parenthesis is one of those artists who is well known and highly regarded within certain circles, yet unknown within others. His consistency has secured a permanent berth at genre ‘centre of excellence’, n5MD but for those only just discovering his music Near The Parenthesis may fall into the category of ‘Top quality artist that I need to have something by – but I’m unsure of which release to go for’.

Blended key and piano arpeggios are signature Near The Parenthesis (Whose real name is Tim Arndt ) The effect is like being showered in music. Big, splashy drops of loveliness fall upon the listener like summer rain. Albums tend to evolve in a naturalistic fashion. Actually Near The Parenthesis would make a perfect accompaniment to a nature documentary. It would have to a quality film though – something by BBC or Discovery. This music develops with dignity, restrained growth, ebbing and flowing, that kind of thing. No great overtures or explosive climaxing. All very agreeable. Sometimes tracks meander. Sometimes you aren’t quite aware that you crossed over to a different piece. I love it.

The difference with Japanese for Beginners , slight though it may be, is in the programming. Things are a little more IDM now. Beats are more purposeful. The air crackles with electricity and it’s clear something mechanical is walking this forest. Take a piece like ‘In Regard To Water’ and you hear all manner of influences from labelmate/friend Arc Lab all the way back to Harold Budd .

Near The Parenthesis will get the “samey” accusation thrown his way, of that there is no doubt. But one persons ‘repetitive’ is anothers ‘consistent’. Like the best of ambient, the real ambient, Near The Parenthesis isn’t background music at all. Anyone with a tendancy to switch off or disengage ought to rethink or avoid becaue I really don’t think this is oriented towards that. Japanese for Beginners to me is contemplative. It strikes my mind that it is about hope rather than despair, despite its air of melancholy. It’s a trickle effect, sure, but hey, canyons were forged that way.

Not sure which release to go for? Try this one.