Tokyo-based composer and sound designer Seigo Aoyama has been building imaginary worlds for years. He is a master of creating abstract, all-encompassing landscapes and soundscapes that stretch out in front of you as far as you are willing to believe they can go.
Aoyama’s new album, On The Drift, is his latest foray into world-building. He takes us to beaches where the salty ocean laps the sand gently and invites you to sit. Then, all of a sudden, you’re standing on a mountain peak with cold air whipping by as you gaze upon the Earth below. The music contained within is sonic experimentation; the external world is softly woven into the album’s chronicles.
Since Aoyama was a child, he has held scenery close to his heart. The music presented here is a diary of natural influences on his creative process. In 2014 Aoyama began incorporating field recordings into his work, beginning with the ambient sounds of crowds, factory work and railroad noise; now he leads us out of man-made contexts and back into nature. We do not travel with him purposefully, rather, we drift along behind waiting to experience the next corner of the planet Aoyama allows us to explore.
The album can be listened to all together in a rolling wave of sound, yet any moment can be extracted, repeated, and engaged with, not only as an individual song but as a meditative practice. The songs are gentle, poignant reminders of the expansive offering of quiet peace. Perhaps Aoyama explains it best when he says ‘Until the day when I live by rooting on the ground, I will flow and drift through the landscape like a cloud floating in the sky.’ This is, after all, Ayoama’s imagination.