Masayuki Taguchi






Masayuki Taguchi is an Ambient producer from Niigata, Japan. Apart from being a musician, he is also known for his his ethereal, fractal and textural loop videos which sync perfectly with his music, similar to visualization tools for your favorite digital music player or software. Although videos like these on his website have been done before – think of Autechre's breathtaking Gantz Graf video, for instance – the music in Taguchi's videos is, at least to my mind, way more important and eclectic. Basically, he presents two different Ambient styles in his works which also show up in his Works1005 EP: he either presents a monotonous but multitextural and very bright and soothing synth string that pulsates and oscillates slightly, or he starts with a reduced nucleus that consists of synth pads, guitar strings or field recordings which are then enhanced and amplified by additional music and sound layers until a proper Ambient track is born whose pompous highpoint consists of various ingredients, each of them carefully introduced before. His output is thus similar to artists like Tetsu Inoue or Thom Brennan, but Taguchi's music isn't as fragile as Inoue's music and not as heavy and ethereal as Brennan's works. In a way, he takes an intermediate position between their styles, as I will show below.

1005, Pt. 1 starts with mystical whirlwinds and soon changes the setting. Now the atmosphere of an illuminated dripstone cave is present, complete with brightly glistening multitextural synth washes and water drops. The multiple textures allow for slightly dissonant threads to be interwoven into the shape. However, the predominant mood is enormously soothing and cherubic, and even though there is no elaborated melody, the synth washes aren't monotonous entities either, but oscillate gradually and form a majestic, introverted soundscape in the veins of Tetsu Inoue or New Age music; the latter term shouldn't put you off, for this 6+ minute track is very strong and vibrant. 1005, Pt. 2 resides on the opposite side of the spectrum: here, frosty aural swabs and pulses build a minimal and surprisingly playful base that is later augmented by gentle clicks and an equally glacial, iridescent synth string. Soft bass droplets and percussive elements grow larger by and by while during the end, coruscatingly pristine bells round off the track and make Taguchi's loop-based setup transparent to the listener; the artist bolsters the track by adding elements and new loops to it, until in the end only the quavering but mellow synth hooks can be heard. This is a much more melodious Ambient tune, and its runtime of over 9 minutes permits each added ingredient to shimmer and shine in the limelight.

1005, Pt. 3 picks up the thread of Pt. 1 by re-introducing the echoey water drops and the rapturous monotony of the effervescent synth. Additional wave-like sizzles are added, and the setting encapsulates the listener in a shelter-giving ball of light. After 3 minutes, quiet beats and percussive elements are floating in with an additional square lead synth pad that gleams glaringly and adds liveliness to the sublimeness of the sustained melody. The synth pad melodies are high-pitched and piercing, but never distract from the mellifluous aura. 1005, Pt. 4 adds another motif to the depicted microcosm of the front artwork, and it's a sound which I tend to dislike in Ambient music: as usual, I'm talking about the inclsuion of a guitar, for I don't like folksy campfire romance in Ambient music. Either Taguchi knows about my fears or he simply doesn't care one bit, for he delivers an electrifying, spell-binding closer on his EP. The sustain of the plucked strings is placid, the reduced minimalism that focuses on the basics – sound and silence – is a refreshing approach that again harks back to Pt. 2 concept-wise, for the guitar strings are enhanced by blurry clicks, electronic xylophone melodies and fragile synth washes. The mood is bittersweet and melancholic, or in short: it is perfect for a typical Sunday afternoon. I still prefer the strength and energy of a good synthesizer setup anytime, but tracks like this are as close as possible to impress me.

Naturally, my top picks are
Pt. 1 and Pt. 3 due to their concepts of crystalline contentment and the powerful encapsulation of the listener who is simply washed away by the semi-heavy, vibrant sounds. In order to prevent a certain monotony, Taguchi modulates the textures, which then morph and pulsate almost impercetibly. This organic approach is further modified with glistening synth pads and gentle percussion. These devices always remain in the background and don't spoil or alter the mood and the synth washes in the slightest. But even the remaining two tracks of his EP capture my attention. The fragile and introverted Pt. 2 grows stronger and larger while Pt. 4 perfects the organic setting by, well, featuring a guitar, bringing a real-world device into the microscopic setting that the front cover depicts. It is true that Taguchi doesn't add anything new to the Ambient genre per se – water drops, a foggy atmosphere and positively soporific setups have all been created before –, but the demand for more of the same is always there. Such being the case, Taguchi succeeds big time with his music and should also please listeners who don't want to experience a foreseeable setup, but favor a more experimental and alternative approach. I for one also like his pitch-perfect, foggy and cavernous pieces, as they are brightly-lit and inviting overall. These pieces work especially well on higher volume levels, but I let you be the judge on this matter. I believe that only Pt. 2 inherits that certain Japanese flavor of ambience, while every other aspect of each track cannot be pinpointed location-wise. If this isn't a problem for you, just go out (in a metaphorical way) and support this artist. His music is readily available on iTunes.



Further reading:

Masayuki Taguchi tweets in both English and Japanese. His English account is @tgcmsyk_en.





Ambient Review 069: Masayuki Taguchi – Works1005 (2010). Originally published on May 9, 2012 at