Review: The Beautiful Schizophonic + Yui Onodera – Night Blossom

Opening track “Dreaming in the Proximity of Mars” demonstrates why I perceive the piano as a most difficult tool to incorporate into ambient music. Incorporating its regimented pitches and rhythmic plonks (regardless of any attempt to mercurialise its sound into a fluid spillage of notes) often results in a very awkward, reserved execution, while any electronic accompaniment becomes paralysed into unemotive ambient beds. So often I hear the piano gliding mindlessly up and down the same “serene” harmonic scales in front of a diluted synthesizer wash, and it’s unfortunate to see such a fate consume the opener of Night Blossom.

It’s a shame, as the absence of piano really sets the group’s atmospheric conjury into motion. “Washing in Slow Colours” casts thick drone chords into panoramic horizons, before scattering ghostly vibraphone echoes across it like the smudged glow of stars. The occasional click and rustle of activity (metallic jangles, barely audible clicks) become the movement and telescope adjustments inside an expansive space observatory. Meanwhile, the chatter of nighttime insects and blossoming saxophones of “Siamese Bloom” place the listener in amongst towering flower silhouettes during a summer evening, leaving one to dream into an imaginary garden.

The reverberant choral loops of “This Crying Age” take Night Blossom spiralling away from earth altogether, with overlaps of whispered poetry acting like a soft and intimate farewell. It’s perhaps the album’s most penetrative track and could have arguably been doubled in length (particular as the album is all over and done with in a swift 39 minutes) but its fleetingness brings with it a melancholic longing that somewhat befits the piece’s sombre mood. Perhaps a follow up album will resume the journey from where it so blissfully trails off.