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Edition of 315 copies, silkscreened sleeve w/ obi, postcard, inserts

The way their instrumental voices meld together on Suikyō, though, is evidence of a capacity both to draw from these histories, and to take these collective knowledges to new places. And sometimes, unexpectedly old places: Masubuchi notes that his guitar on this set took him back to the rock and blues he used to play, perhaps in earlier groups like Pelktopia, which he suggests contributes to “the psychedelic mood” of Suikyō. Tomo’s hurdy gurdy matches this by pulling drones out of the air or allowing melodies to slowly morph and envelop the listener – their development, at times, reminds me of troubadour music from Occitanie.

Suzuki’s presence is equally compelling and curious. Her voice is an eternally flexible instrument, and whether it sits unadorned within the soundworld magic’d into space by Masubuchi and Tomo, or slips between the cracks thanks to subtle use of electronic effects, it has a quality about it that is both otherworldly – at times, the voice soars and pirouettes – and thoroughly, deeply grounded, of this earth, a most human and intimate encounter. There is a lovely consort between Suzuki and Tomo, the voice and hurdy-gurdy shadowing each other: as Tomo notes, “the hurdy gurdy has been an instrument played to accompany singing since the Middle Ages.” For Suzuki, the performance was “psychedelic and hedonistic in a good way,” but it wasn’t simply given in to that experience: “we were at the same time looking at it from an objective point of view.”

That feels like the right way to approach Suikyō: as a performance that both sets the mind and ears spinning, but with a careful, thoughtful, and considerate objectivity to its moment-by-moment development. It’s also incredibly gorgeous. As a first encounter, it’s surprising in both its comfort and its challenge: and as Masubuchi says, the playing together feels just the way it had to be: “instinctive, unintentional, and inevitable.”