Like a fresh fragrance. Arising from the album like fresh wind weaving out of the bamboo grove. You can hear the quiet whispering of the spirits that they say dwell in the hollows of the bamboos.
Just as the layers of bamboo leaves are so refreshing and cool, the layers of brightly hued singing voices become also so crystalline clear.
Gift of the deities ........... this island of four seasons
Allured by foreign lands ........... this changing island
Do not forget ........... do not destroy our ancient ways
The heart that feels and speaks
This is a stanza out of "Konjaku Monogatari" (Stories, modern and ancient), recorded in the album "MAI". Eri's heartfelt feelings from the album continues on to this album.
From the majestic voyage in the opening she goes on to the ancient "story song" of the second, and in the third, transcending the ethnic instruments gamelan and the didjiridoo, her voice begins to weave the aesthetic sounds of harmony. As instruments of various nations dance in sound, Sugai's voice throbs and dances to the waves of these sounds, runs beween these waves and weaves a tapestry of her own.
Even the bamboo water piece "shishiodoshi" rises to become an instrument proper, followed up by the pieces of latter half, climaxing to Baroque, Gion Festival and the Big Drums. Here we find transitions of nature and songs of praises to the earth.
There are no boundaries of lands to the words she creates yet there is such a feeling of nostalgia (for ancient Japan) in the rich resonance of these sounds. Can you not feel the landscapes, the imageries of the Japanese kokoro (the psyche) in these? But she does not stop at Japan or Asia and her attempt at integration with Western sounds is exquisite.
It is not hard to see that Eri Sugai's music is painstakingly created. She records her voice in multi layers and the main vocal is placed on this chorus. She puts layers of voice over layers and finally her world of sounds is constructed.
She weaves the ancient beauty of Japan into the tapestry.
The bright hues of sounds dedicated to the heavens in festivals and ceremonies are heard here, an unlimited expression of the human voice and a gift delivered from the heavenly skies.
This album contains the heartfelt desire not only to listen to the "voice" but to the "fragrance" of the music. Because of her many journeys to so many lands, she knows now how her own country and other countries can coexist in harmony and this same Eri Sugai loves this island of the four seasons and her nostalgia for this ancient land pulses strongly in each piece of this album.