by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
aus is the solo project of Tokyo-born composer and producer Yasuhiko Fukuzono. He works with a blend of analogue and digital, bringing a keen awareness of orchestration for strings to bear with recordings of everyday life and electronic motifs.
Often these are highly descriptive, capturing movie images or reflecting conversations, dreams, melodies and emotions. As his press material goes on to say, Fukuzono reflects his home city in the activity felt within his music, with dynamics that shift quickly from loud to quiet and back again.
What’s the music like?
Fukuzono writes warm, expressive music with beautiful colours and compelling attention to detail.
Halsar Weiter establishes the rich tableau of sounds, with bright harmonic movements and an initial stillness that gradually gives way to movement, when Landia arrives with distinctive thematic material and the use of a chorus.
Past From brings elements of minimalist composers into the mix, with a busy and slightly percussive piano part complemented by struck percussion and attractive strings that come to the fore towards the end, rather like the postlude on a Björk song.
Make Me Me has quite a plaintive two part harmonisation that grows in strength. The vocal for Flo feels like it’s played on an old record. Memories has a dreamy, sparkling piano against incisive strings.
All these pale into relative insignificance alongside the final track Neanic, which has the fluttering figurations of a violin against a still, wordless choir, then builds to a powerful and moving conclusion.
Does it all work?
Yes, it does – Fukuzono has a keen sense of structure to keep things moving, not to mention an abundance of melodic ideas.
Is it recommended?
It is – this is an album that gives more with each listen, which will appeal to modern classical listeners as well as those with an eye on the cinematic.