Pianist Naoko Sakata makes music that touches the sublime: sounds that can bewitch as much as scratch the listener, before seducing entirely and leaving them a sobbing mess on the floor. It’s this capricious nature that permeates through her new solo album.
Signed to Anna von Hausswolff’s Pomperipossa label, she’s naturally erring more on the experimental side, defying easy categorisation. She would fit seamlessly alongside Sunn 0))), Anohni or Trevor Powers at any festival circuit, despite not sharing musical genres. It’s more a question of the remarkable moods and textures she evokes within her sound.
Entirely instinctive, as in her other two previous albums, these pieces need to breathe like wine; their impact grows and spirits are revealed the more they are played. ‘Improvisation 11’ is delicate and skeletal before becoming unexpectedly thunderous and disturbing as it develops. Similarly, there’s a Gothic tension in ‘Improvisation 10’, a shuddering rhythmic thrust, where at times Sakata seems to stab at the piano keys.
Offsetting the darker tone is the final track, ‘Improvisation 13’, a more restorative and calm piece. It’s reminiscent of the gentle early work by the Icelandic band Amiina, yet it’s no less complex in structure.
As nights get shorter and darker, Infinity seems like the ideal soundtrack for cooler nights and autumnal contemplation. Its minimalism sits well with the shedding of leaves and finding comfort indoors.
Infinity is out now via Pomperipossa Records. Listen here.