There’s a new album on the way from Japanese master vibraphonist, multi-percussionist, and composer Masayoshi Fujita. Entitled Bird Ambience, it follows his 2018’s Book Of Life. Drawing from influences he’d kept separate until now, his acoustic solo recordings, the electronic dub releases under his El Fog moniker, and his experimental improvisations, Bird Ambience sees Fujita embrace a new sonic direction. Unlike previous works where the vibraphone was the signature instrument, on his upcoming album the marimba takes centre stage alongside drums, percussion, synths, effects and tape recorder.
“The way of playing the marimba is similar to the vibraphone, so it was kind of a natural development for me and easier to start with, yet it sounds very different”, Fujita explained. “The marimba bars are made with wood and it has a wider range than the vibraphone, which gives me a bigger sound palette with more possibilities. I play the instrument with bows and mallets, and sometimes manipulate it with effects.”
Fujita also commented on his approach to improvisation:
“I prioritised trying to capture the wonder which happens during those occasional magic improv moments. Sometimes the mic-ing and placement of instruments was pretty rough; things weren’t perfect and everything was done quickly, but it turned out as the final recording. Overall when I couldn’t decide between two takes, I told myself to go with the first.”
Bird Ambience arrives on May 28th through Erased Tapes and we can already hear the gorgeous and delicate lead single ‘Thunder’. The track was inspired by Anna Akhmatova’s poem You Will Hear Thunder. The single comes with a fittingly stunning video directed and shot by Ryo Noda in the mountains near Hyogo where Fujita now lives.