Susumu Hirasawa – Technique of Relief

4 out of 5
Label: Columbia
Produced by: Susumu Hirasawa
Kicking off the third evolution of Susumu Hirasawa’s solo work – the first being a three album run of P-Model-esque wackiness, the second three more albums of a more internalized, reflective sound – Technique of Relief hits with invigoration: opener Town-0 Phase-5 has the layering and intensity of Hirasawa’s more eclectic songs, but is presented with a maturity and nuance earned by the experiences informing his work-to-date.  Thereafter, the album combines the densely choral, electronic sound of the preceding albums with a sense of joy those discs were often missing, be it the celebratory tone of Moon Time, or on the more energetic tracks that litter the album’s back half.  Ghost Bridge is perhaps the disc’s only real stretch, hearkening back to Aurora’s more stripped down sound and not really doing much during its 5+ minute runtime; it’s a rather droll experience when held against the disc’s generally LOUD sound, with tracks often building up and up to overwhelming but harmonious conclusions of synths and vocals and instrumentation.
Each shift in Hirasawa’s catalogue up to this point has brought with it highs and lows; Technique of Relief comes shuffling out boisterous and proud, almost completely stocked with highs.