Ryo Murakami came from a tech house / minimal techno background, but sometime around 2013, after he built up quite a name for himself in those circles with a series of excellent EPs, he turned his attention towards more experimental sorts of electronic music, namely ambient and dark ambient. In 2021 he released two albums, ‎on his own label, Depth Of Decay and this one, Tiers ‎out on Bedouin Records. And while 跡 was decent as well, Tiers was a really outstanding and musically more diverse release.

It starts with Town and its beautiful, calm, drone-based ambient soundscapes, but it isn’t too long before things take a turn and wander off into much more menacing dark ambient territories. There are some calmer moments later on as well and also some tracks that fall somewhere between the two extremes. The best example for the latter is Decade, which is pure, meditative ambient that Murakami turns into a haunting, spine chilling work of art with the addition of some echoing piano sounds. With Rest Is the atmosphere gets even darker and then Prove goes further down this direction: it sounds like something straight out of a horror movie soundtrack, lifted from a scene in some creepy old catacombs. It gets more and more intense as it goes on and builds up and is followed by the bone chilling Mother, but Murakami still goes on and takes the horror feel to the next level in Dense, that is made up of almost nothing, but random, extremely creepy sounds right until the end when they are replaced by some even creepier piano. All this right before the album comes full circle with the closing Ravel, which marks a return to the peaceful ambient soundscapes of the opening track.

Murakami already dropped some very memorable albums since he turned towards experimental music, but this one is probably his finest one to date and it isn’t just a good album, with fine music, it is the sort that takes you to a trip, and in this case it is a very dark and scary trip, but with a guaranteed return to safety at the end.

03.Path Of Sand
07.Rest In


A year in reviews: in 2021 I was somewhat neglecting the site due to the lack of free time, but now I try to make up for it as much as possible, reviewing several important / good / interesting albums that were released this year. One for each day throughout December, from a very wide spectrum of genres. #2021reviews