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 - Low Power

Label: White Paddy Mountain


H. Takahashi’s new album Low Power isn’t a dream but it could be considered a tool for connecting with the dreamlike aspects of our reality. In Virtual Reality (VR), there is a notion known as ‘Plausibility Illusion’ which means that if the events within a VR scenario correlate with one's actions, subsequently giving agency and consequence to them, they will begin to react as if it the situation is real. As with Takahashi’s last release Raum, there is an intensity to Low Power that drives towards the hyper-real and the unreal. Whereas ‘Plausibility Theory’ sees the mind find the reality in an artificial virtual realm, Low Power creates the inverse of this relationship, accentuating details, adding smoothness and in essence, building on top of our reality, more akin to the principles of Augmented Reality. 

Takahashi is, after all, an architect. He naturally considers our relationships to built environments and modern cities. Much like Raum, Low Power is a record well suited to the modern world - a soundtrack to a film that turns banality into something surreal and a basic action such as buying a sandwich, into a unnatural exchange. On asking Takahashi about the name of the record, he explained that the it came from Tachibana Hajime's album Low Power - a record centred around the premise that ‘when the mind is sunk, bright songs sometimes hurt'. Takahashi explained that his record Low Power stems from that the same exploration.

It was interesting to hear this explanation related to a record that is so clean and clear in its presentation. The brightness that Takahahashi refers to can be felt distinctly through the symbolism of light which reflects in every direction, leaving no shadows and therefore nowhere to hide. Light is everywhere, and therefore the listener is exposed to it in an almost puritanical way. There is always a sterile and artificial quality to Takahashi's music, a clarity so bare that it can't be real, a light so bright that perhaps it even hurts. This subversive aspect is what moves it beyond simply ambient music. It leans towards a dystopian image serving as a metaphor of the modern human subjecting themselves to maximum pleasure, relentless joy. AG