Hiroshi Yoshimura Soundscape 1: Surround

It’s easy to get away with music that sounds like something. Vast store shelves are littered with “albums” proclaiming exactly what you’ll hear inside. Relaxing Sounds of the Rainforest, Nights in Ireland, Serenity and Bliss Mix, etc. all serving as perfect sonic backgrounds to whatever space you want them to live in. But is this music? Or is it simply noise? I’ll argue: you can’t feel what you don’t “feel”. You can’t assign meaning to what isn’t meaningful. Music will always be meaningful. Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Soundscape 1: Surround is full of meaning, something that makes it different to whatever you’ll hear today.

In 1986, the Misawa Corporation commissioned Hiroshi Yoshimura to create music that could provide something their own products were missing. Misawa specialized in creating prefabricated homes for the modern Japanese who valued a certain aesthetic and prided themselves in urbanity above anything else. This hyper urbanization however presented an obstacle. The more modern life becomes, the more distant we’re able to get from the eternal. Now, what do you do, to not completely close yourself from the organic and natural world itself? Design can only do so much. Misawa understood that. For that other, you have to find ways to close the distance.

Misawa Home

Given out with every prefab home was Hiroshi’s spellbinding Soundscape 1: Surround an album of music that was meant to provide a foreground to a lot of something you might be missing. Released alongside Yutaka Hirose’s Soundscape 2: Nova, Hiroshi arranges all sorts of electronic tones into a focus. Focusing specifically on bodies of water, he uses their inspiration to serve as staging for the utterly gorgeous and sublime aquatic-lilting electro-acoustic songs you’ll find here. A true master at work, it’s one of the few albums that feels (spiritually/holistically) exactly the way it sounds.