Review: Ikebana – When You Arrive There

When You Arrive There comes into being almost entirely by itself. Guitar strums resonate in open tunings, with minimal fretwork filtering melody through the string vibration, while vocal melodies are carried into the ether on exhaled breaths, the underlying sighs audible as a hiss of respiratory vacation lurking behind the notes. Meanwhile, amplifiers are left gushing loops of accident and non-intention, as un-gated interweaves of scrape and hum curling back in on themselves. It is the music that guides itself organically out of Ikebana’s two bodies while its members are in a resting state – a gradually, natural oozing of thought and contemplation, filling the air with a beautiful, lightly coloured smoke that acts as their own natural sonic perspiration.

The duo recently supported Grouper at a recent Tokyo show, and there’s certainly justification for comparison there. Both artists appear to cocoon themselves in their own music, hiding within the vapour of reverb and harmony that smudges all form and intimacy – not introverted exactly, but a non-communicative extroversion; loud enough to be heard by others, but deliberately too faint for the message within to be easily understood, evoking a very shoegaze-esque sense of vagueness and implication. Yet there are moments during When You Arrive There that step timidly out into the open: finger-plucked motifs and plectrums deliberately jarred against strings, momentarily breaking the cloud of soft colours to reveal distinct interactions between material and skin.