‘hochu-ekki-tou’ marks the beginning in a series of releases with the Belgian artist Stijn Hüwels, as well as the welcome return of Tomoyoshi Date.
Tomoyoshi is established as one of the great ambient artists around today. Beyond his solo releases, he is of course well known for his collaborations as Opitope (Chihei Hatakeyama), Illuha (Corey Fuller), and Melodía (Federico Durand). When we use the term ‘organic minimalism’, no other artist really embodies what we mean by this more than Tomoyoshi.
Stijn Hüwels is a truly wonderful artist who quietly releases with our friends over at Dauw. He is personally one of my favourite artists working today with his incredibly melodic yet ethereally patient guitar pieces. We also share a great love for all things Japan, and this has led to a number of collaborations when he has visited the country so often, as well as when Japanese artists come over to perform in Belgium.
‘hochu-ekki-tou’ is made up of three long-form pieces that were recorded in both Tokyo and Leuven in 2015 and 2017 respectively. In both its artwork and sound, this is an album of minimalism in the most beautiful and serene of ways. As each piece slowly transforms within itself, the various melodies and the sources of these melodies fluctuate in such subtle and gentle ways. Nothing is out of place, no space is unnecessarily taken up, and instead everything is allowed to breath and flow in its natural state.
I can think of no more fitting album as the patter of snowflakes dust the floor outside as I write this on a cold February day. Softly sitting awhile, they quietly turn to water as the air warms by mid-morning. This is the sound of ‘hochu-ekki-tou’ and it is nothing less than precision and purity.
All music by Tomoyoshi Date & Stijn Hüwels
1 + 2 composed and recorded on October 5th, 2015 at Tomoyoshi's studio, Tokyo.
3 composed and recorded in Tokyo & Leuven, 2017
Mixed by Tomoyoshi Date
Mastered by Ian Hawgood
Photography by Stijn Hüwels