Cultural Bulletin
Cultural Bulletin is a quarterly magazine that provides an international view of creative work. We look to film, music, design and art as signifiers of our cultural moment.

In Review: H.Takahashi - Escapism

Label:  Not Not Fun


H. Takahashi’s new release, Escapism, builds neatly on the themes that flowed so effortlessly through his previous record Low Power. There, he focused on the idea that, ‘when the mind is sunk, sometimes bright songs hurt’. And now, with Escapism, we are taken to Takahashi’s sonic interpretation of his ‘dissatisfaction with daily reality’. There is darkness behind its creation.

Although this may sound bleak, the record is anything but. Takahashi has produced a blanket of calm, which ultimately acts as a soundtrack to urban life, pushing you gently to the sidelines and allowing you to watch from afar. It gives you space to breathe and think. 

6 separate tracks, all in varying lengths (from 1:54 to 8:20), are linked by their electronic-ambient discourse. ‘Crystal’ and ‘Warp’ are fluid, wavering pieces whereas ‘Sink’ and ‘Escape’ provide more structure within their underlying rhythms. They are, however, still light and considered - bringing a subtle, hypnotic flow. The record finishes with ‘Embryo’, a more challenging piece that is harder to pin down as it chirps and whistles with its drone-like acoustics. The experience is heightened when listened to through headphones - where the world can be escaped and Takahashi’s music can fully take its hold.

Label Not Not Fun and designer Bobby Houlihan have accompanied the album with some beautifully minimal artwork. Also, using the same designs, Takahashi produced a limited run of Cassettes to go alongside it. Unsurprisingly, they sold out quickly. TS