Inspired equally by walking and standing still, Under a Cloudy Sky is the latest cassette from Japanese composer Syusaku Deguchi's Dok-S Project. Though the title lends a darker cast, the cloud-filled sky is more contemplative than looming -- its mass may seem impenetrable and reflective, but never threatening.
Like his other standalone releases for Orange Milk and Plastic Response Records, Under a Cloudy Sky is varied and engaging. Designed to suggest emerging from the clouds, the introductory track showcases a characteristic juxtaposition: bright, domestic experiments, mixed with more dramatic touches.
Based largely on samples from a now broken Ensoniq, "Holiday Special" is fast-paced and catchy. It leads into the complex wobble of "Tomoshibi Hideout," conjured from Deguchi's impressions while "lost in the forests of Hokkaido." "Engraving" has a similar tension, with sounds that coalesce in elegant arcs and weird clusters.
"My Documents" is built mostly from field recordings gathered in Mexico and the US, assembled with the early work of Keith Jarrett in mind. Shifting gears to Daisuke Hinata and Vangelis, "Moon Beach Paradise" is a cosmic meditation on an unpopular beach in Okinawa, while "630" ends the a-side with a busy, noirish conjuring of Tokyo Bay.
The b-side opens with the thick layers of "Cumulonimbus," segueing into the primitive electronics of "Top Quark." "L.B.L." is another space-age digression that veers into the meandering swells of "Civilization. Composed over five years, Deguchi's eponymous epic closes the tape on a contemplative note, building sonic snapshots of his hometown on "a boring day without any plans."
"Japanese composer Syusaku Deguchi builds unexpectedly hooky experimental ambient from glistening electronic samples and field recordings." -Bandcamp Daily
Artwork/Layout by Csenge Csató and Márton Tóth
Mastered by Virtual Dream Plaza
released February 26, 2021