Aritomo ‘e no naka no sora ukabu niwa – el jard in volador en la pintura’ (bracken)…. Or ’the flying garden in the picture to give it its rough English translation. Not the first time that we’ve had occasion to fondly feature Aritomo – in fact it was via missive 143 that we first encountered this fuzzy psych folk alchemist when into our laps dropped ’we become the cloud….’ dropped into our laps again (via Bracken) to mysteriously weave its supernatural enchantment. So impressed were we at what we were hearing on this gem like twin set that we fired off an email and ended up purchasing vinyl copies of his brace of ultra limited self released full lengths ’saku ena – blooming the ena’ and kowai komorebi – fearful sunshine filtering through foliages’ both of which were joyfully received here (along with various bits and bobs of wonderful looking art work and a handwritten note) and almost played to destruction. Both these releases have since been the subject of a CD re-issue by the much admired Beta Lactam Ring crew. In addition to these there’s also been a third album that must have been slipped out secretly and has now been the cause of our record collection sorrowfully pining its absence. It’s like that you know very sensitive (and noisy). So it’s a given thing that we’ll be sourcing a copy of that sometime this week. Anyway that’s the domestics nearly done – just needs to be said that aside being a solo musician Aritomo also plays as part of Japanese four piece Mamidori – a kind of progressive folk band who to these ears sound not unlike Sunburned Hand of the Man had they relocated and jumped onto the Elephant 6 Collective wagon trail. In between all this he also manages somehow to find time to sculpt and paint. His latest opus (and fourth at a quick count) comes on both CD and a limited vinyl pressing (one your bog standard card sleeve with inserts the other – edition set housed in a gatefold sleeve – all artwork / inserts provided for by Aritomo). Featuring nine tracks – alas the titles are in Japanese – so it‘ll be track numbers being used to tell them apart. ’flying garden’ may well be unlike anything you’ve previously heard in your life. Both spellbinding and nigh on unclassifiable if you’re looking for reference markers you couldn’t do any worse than re-familiarising yourself with the early career work of Animal Collective, Damon and Naomi’s occasional flirtations with Ghost (especially on track 3), Deerhoof, Nagisa Ni Te and to a lesser extent fellow BLRR-er Brunnen – for Aritomo is one of those rare breed of musicians whose delicately spun acoustic application is so faintly weaved that it sits somewhere on the hazy horizon between what passes for reality and dream, the melodies tender and translucent dissipate and swirl with an amorous and amorphous affection that’s partly hymnal while simultaneously being subtly dappled in waif like lysergic shadings. All at once fragile and frail, the carefree flurries and the genteel and nimble grace of it all at times nods affectionately towards Nick Drake‘s more reflectively faraway moments, the spectral detailing like whispering apparitions lilt and lull you with their sleepy headed hypnotic tranquillity (none more so than the sighing frost tipped chamber toned mountain folk inclines of ‘track 2‘ with its softly succulent watery chime corteges), the deftly stroked strums lend an air of beautified simplicity to proceedings – it really is mesmeric stuff and quite as though you’ve somehow stumbled upon some invisible to the naked eye secret garden. Beguiling doesn’t even begin touch it.

For the aforementioned Mamitori go to…

first aired – August 2009

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