Daigo Hanada – Ichiru [Moderna Records]

Based in Montreal, Québec, Moderna Records is a recently founded label that has quickly established itself as a home for wonderful new voices in experimental and modern classical composition. Having introduced many listeners to artists such as Veronique Vaka, Ed Carlsen, and Tim Linghaus, they do it yet again with the debut solo album by Japanese composer & pianist Daigo Hanada. Written in Berlin and Tokyo over the course of a year, Ichiru is a collection of intimate vignettes recorded with only an upright piano, a pair of microphones and two hands.

Hanada clearly spent a good deal of time developing the contemplative mood and exquisite tone that pervades the entire record. This is music for solitude and the quiet appreciation of treasured memories or reflection upon deeply held emotions. Each melody is warmly inviting and instantly memorable while an impeccably restrained touch and minimalistic aesthetic ensures the sentiment never becomes too saccharine. In fact, the more one listens, the more comforting it becomes like a late-night conversation with an old friend. It seems lately that lovers of solo piano music are a bit spoiled for choice, but that should not diminish appreciation for the exceptional beauty of what Hanada has created on his first outing.

Ichiru is available from Montreal-based Moderna Records in a limited edition CD release (200 copies) featuring striking artwork by Kevin Townsend.

Order: https://modernarecords.bandcamp.com/album/ichiru

Editor’s note: Since Ichiru was released, a number of remixes have been published on Moderna’s Soundcloud channel and demonstrating some surprisingly opaque and atmospheric takes on the original material by notable artists such as Offthesky (Jason Corder), Aaron Martin, Benoit Pioulard, and CEEYS which are not to be missed. Consider for example this tack on the above featured track by German composer Clemens Ruh: