Behind the Shadow Drops: Ether and Positive Shadow, Negative Light
Louder than War’s Ioan Humphreys gets to hear some gorgeous, ambient, cinematic, modern classical, noise from MONO’s Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto aka Behind the Shadow Drops
Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto, the founding guitarist and composer of iconic Japanese experimental rock group MONO presents the latest release from his new solo endeavour H a r m o n i c. Established in 2016, Behind the Shadow Drops combines Goto’s interests in many different forms of music, including ambient, trip-hop, industrial minimalism, and modern classical. Recorded at Goto’s home studio and mixed with esteemed producer and percussionist, John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Yo La Tengo), H a r m o n i c merges Goto’s dynamic, moody compositions with McEntire’s renowned drum programming and percussive sensibilities.
The first release from H a r m o n i c was the track Positive Shadow, Negative Light which was accompanied by a stunning video. Dramatic dialogue leads into dense shimmering guitars. Before long, an electronic throb joins in and the layers start to add. The guitars ramp up and up to squealing distortion, but it is all very controlled and orchestrated. Keyboards and cymbals add more depth and levels that suddenly (and unexpectedly!) get the feet tapping.
The layers just keep coming and the minor chord structures build to create a euphoric emotion that is somehow tinged with slight dread. The dramatic black and white imagery of the video is probably to blame for this! More percussion is layered on as the track nears its end. The track is emotive, powerful and very cinematic in its sound and structure, and combined with the video’s often abstract black and white visuals, they both make a brilliant package.
The second release from H a r m o n i c is Ether. Yet again it is a controlled exercise in atmospheric noise and sounds. Gentle percussion and a beautifully distorted guitar chord progression and noodling thread throughout the track. Rhythmic beats break up the tension and piano riffs lead the way to the slow integration of subtle noise creep in. But this noise never truly comes into fruition. The control that Goto has over the sounds and layers he produces.
This music really does get under the skin and the melodies last long after the tracks are finished. In particular Ether has the rhythmic repetition that alludes to Max Richter or John Murphy’s works with the slow burning, atmospheric, cinematic, and orchestral feel. It’s beautiful stuff and I look forward to hearing more from H a r m o n i c.
H a r m o n i c is out 22nd September on Temporary Residence.
Live Taka Goto (Behind The Shadow Drops) dates:
Oct 1 / Privatclub / Berlin, Germany
Oct 3 / Espace B / Paris, France
Oct 4 / Nest / Gent, Belgium
Oct 5 / Oefenbunker / Landgraaf, Netherlands
Oct 7 / Brudenell Social Club / Leeds, UK
Oct 8 / PRESS (PLAY) / Exeter, UK
Oct 9 / Gullivers / Manchester, UK
Oct 10 / Garage Attic / Glasgow, UK
Oct 11 / Birthdays / London, UK
Oct 12 / Monk / Rome, Italy
Oct 13 / Raindogs House / Savona, Italy
Oct 14 / Santeria Social Club / Milan, Italy
Oct 17 / British Rock Stars / Bratislava, Slovakia
Oct 18 / Durer Kert / Budapest, Hungary
Oct 20 / Shelter / Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Oct 21 / Fabrica / Bucharest, Romania