In Review: Raum - H. Takahashi
Record Label: Where To Now? Records
Sound Designer and architect H. Takahashi’s third record Raum is a deeply ambient record that is rooted in the functional aspects of the genre. Inherently centred in minimalist forms, the project’s themes of light, space and shape feel synonymous with the idealism held within Modernist architecture. Raum draws a comparison with Brian Eno’s exploration of the harmonious relationship between sound and space and its ability to aid the well-being of its inhabitants (see Music For Airports as a key example of this). Constructed solely on an iPhone whilst wandering through his home city of Tokyo, the connection between architecture and music is inescapable. There is a strong feeling that this record was made to serve an ergonomic function for people living in modern cities.
Although very relaxing, the music is clinical in its delivery, as if constructed by an algorithm to pacify the human mind, rather than a subjective expression of a single creator. It is at this point where Raum takes on more surreal qualities, so focussed on a transcendent harmony that it produces an artificial malaise - giving way to a hyperreal experience. Indirectly, it alludes to the conundrum of technological advancements, designed to make our lives easier and in the process disconnect us from something inherent within our nature. In the future, when humans are invariably enslaved and placed into quarantine by a superior artificial intelligence, something akin to Raum may be playing softly in the background and we’ll probably be blissfully unaware. AG