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Ex Confusion – I Remember When

Ex Confusion – I Remember When (n5MD Records)

Review by Paul Lockett.

I recall the first time I sat down to audition ‘The Disintegration Loops’ by William Basinski. It may have been down to my mood on that particular day, but the initial slightly awkward feeling of repetitiveness ultimately gave way to complete awe-inspiring beauty as the music slowly revealed itself. In fact, it took several more listens before I was fully able to appreciate the level of abstraction and detail in the recording.

Ex Confusion, the moniker for Tokyo-based solo recording artist Atsuhito Omori, finds us exploring many of the same themes as those revealed in Basinski’s recordings – particularly those of loss, isolation and hazy memories. ‘I Remember When’ is his sixth album – and will also be his first to see a release on vinyl.

The album is beautiful, sad, longing. It describes feelings possibly long suppressed – but also ultimately offers hope. Comprising ten individual tracks, ‘I Remember When’ feels cohesive and binds together a consistent set of themes. Whilst the six-minute title track takes us on a journey towards the heart, the intro (‘To Seek The Path’) ultimately targets the same destination while very much both keeping its distance and maintaining its presence. ‘Tears’, one of the most delicate pieces of work on the album, is almost so fragile that simply holding it in your memory would break its wings.

The structure for many of the tracks involves overlapping patterns – often incorporating the use of old analogue equipment. These patterns are sometimes revisited, broken down and analysed, while at other times (for example, during ‘Nothing Stays The Same’) take a different route and revolve around a simple riff played on an old guitar.

The use of ghostly synths throughout is certain to pique the interest of fans of ambient electronic music. I’ve enjoyed listening to ‘I Remember When’ both as late night, headphone music and also blasting through the hi-fi on a Saturday afternoon. Through headphones, it promotes feelings of insecurity & fear, whereas through speakers, I felt optimism mixed with regret.

Fans of Wil Bolton, Tim Hecker, Boards of Canada and William Basinski will love this.

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