Makoto Kawabata & Richard Youngs – Makoto Kawabata & Richard Youngs

3 out of 5

Produced by: Makoto Kawabata & Richard Youngs

Label: VHF Records

Very much in line with Kawabata’s and Young’s other VHF offerings, this collaboration – pieced together remotely – gives us five (essentially) instrumental tracks packed full of auto-harp, distorted vocals, guitar haze, key swirls, and plenty of lovely, lovely noise. Choosing to drift dreamily over and through each other’s leads instead of smashing their styles together, Richard chants vaguely off key on the opener – a refrain about things being better; things being boring – while Makoto plucks his way around Young’s various effects. Kawabata’s guitar takes slightly more center-stage on some tracks (essentially all untitled, represented by colors), and while these are appealing from a drone / trance perspective, with slight pertubations in rhythm occurring over 12 minute and 9 minute stretches (on track 2, ‘Orange,’ and track 4 ‘Pink’), Young’s psychedelic overlays don’t necessarily enhance Makoto’s playing, and also don’t dive deep enough to create their own mood. Perhaps as part of a larger work more in tune with those tracks’ comparatively subtle mindset, they could be more notable, but when paired with the “song” structure of the opener, the glorious building noise of track 3’s ‘Green’ and the relative chaos of closer ‘Purple,’ the songs definitely get lost in the experience.

It’s quite a beautiful set, nonetheless, and certainly a worthwhile addition to either artist’s output from the same label.