last modified Feb 03 2008

Suzuki Junzo-Pieces For Hidden Circles(Utech Records/Us/CD)

-.Dropped Pieces for Discarded Dawn
2) Lost Chords
3) Ameria
4) Wind
5.One-Armed Messanger
6.Circles for Vibrolux
7.Hats-Off to A.M.

Suzuki Junzo : Gibson ES335
all songs composed and played by Suzuki Junzo
produced by Suzuki Junzo/Iwao Yamazaki
Recorded at Atelier Himawari October 2007
mixd & Mastered & Enguneered by Iwao Yamazaki(Atelier Himawari)

Release Date DECEMBER 21 2007
URL: http://www.utechrecords.com/

Wire Choose this album for 'Office Ambience #288/Feb08)
>>>DETAIL URL:http://www.thewire.co.uk/articles/526/

Suzuki Junzo Pieces for Hidden Circles
Japaneses singer/guitar player Suzuki Junzo (Astral Travelling Unity, 20 Guilders, Overhang Party, Miminokoto) weaves an improvised country blues/folk music with touches of acid and psych. While performing and recording mostly as a solo artist, he has collaborated with Hiroshi Hasegawa, Tabata Mitsuru and Kawabata Makoto. Pieces for Hidden Circles is a recording of the highest order evoking spirituality and devotion unrivaled. A campaign to a world of solitude, each footfall and gust of wind resonating to the heavens.
(Keith Utech)

Compared to the other releases in the ARC series, Junzo's work stands out as being one that is very different in style and approach. Rather than seeming overly experimental or esoteric, it instead goes for an acid tinged psychedelic approach to folk and blues that still manages to convey its own sound. It isn't as dark as some of the previous discs in the series, so it would seem that it ARC releases are ending on a slightly brighter note. However, there is a great deal of emotion and passion felt in the minimal guitar strums and chords.

This album as a whole is simple guitar playing?no heavily duty processing, no NASA like battery of effects, no band, no vocals?just Junzo and his Gibson. For that reason alone there is a certain consistent feel to the tracks that some may find repetitive, but I personally think it adds to the intimacy. I feel as if I'm in the room as he's playing these songs to me. The opening and ending tracks, "Shadows-Lights" and "Lights-Shadows" are appropriately cut from the same cloth: somewhat folky pieces that feel very loose and occasionally get almost percussive in nature, but always remain melodic.

There is a constant feeling of shifting and changing emotions from track to track. "Lost Chords" has a decidedly sad, melancholic sound to it throughout its gentle, sad strums. However, the mood quickly uplifts for the next track, "Ameria," which is much more upbeat with a rapid, free jazz tempo to it that could quickly lift both mood and spirits. Even the blues get a nod on "Circles for Vibrolux," which take the loping, staccato riff style associated with the early blues artists and recontextualizes it into a psychedelic electric sound.

The biggest change is in the sprawling "Hats Off to A.M." which, clocking in at over 16 minutes, is by far the longest track on here. This is the only time that there is actually the feel that this is a studio recording, because the track does have some inkling of effects or processing. Never to an extent that it no longer feels like a guitar recording, but there is some obvious effects used to create the long, violin like drones of guitar tone that permeate the mix. As a whole it is a very subtle, engaging piece that feels warm and inviting, but never manages to sink fully into the background with its subtlety.

Pieces for Hidden Circles is an odd beast amongst a world that is usually more focused in darkness and the morose. It is instead an album that feels very warm, spiritual and inviting. With only his guitar, Junzo creates an intimate setting that draws the listener in, and even though it remains relatively Spartan throughout, it is never anything but captivating.
( by Creaig Dunton from BRAINWASHED)


If you've been paying attention to archive releases and distro stockings you'll recognize the name Suzuki Junzo as a member of Astral Traveling unity and from the wonderful duo CD Astro & Suzuki. Another fine addition here to the Utech arc series with Suzuki offering a nicely crafted and focused solo electric guitar CD.
( by Scott Slimm from aRCHIVE Recordings)

subdued solo - electric-guitar extraplations from miminokoto / overhang party guitarist junzo suzuki - some nice brushed chordal droning pieces cut with single-note flourishes (ala masayuki takayanagi 's glonely womanh) & folk-guitar excursions
( by mimaroglu music sales )

This is going to be a more awkward post than normal. I only have one Suzuki Junzo album, but it has become one of my favorites things to listen to. I am also not sure of his other stuff, because I see on his website that there are a lot of collabs and his second album has a band and vocals and stuff. I have Pieces For Hidden Circles .Worth noting, this is a brilliant photograph. Which also has brilliant cover art. This is a solo guitar album. On the scale of obviousness it's probably pretty obvious that this is not some kind of Zakk Wylde gguitar godh nonsense. I want to call this an ambient record, but I don't even think that's fair, because ambient makes it sound like one of those records I enjoy where you're going on a fishing expedition to pick out the basic dynamic of what the music is doing over what the core repetition is. This isn't that. There is clearly a guitar being played by a person here. It's also one of those things that, as noted by the not Zakk Wylde comment is mellow. Except mellow has some kinda generally negative connotation, like it's background music, not worth your time. You can relax to Pieces For Hidden Circles , but it's not Pure Moods II . Beautiful is a good word to describe the music on this album. It's definitely got that gtraversing space and time and an entire range of human emotionsh kinda thing going for it. Compared to a lot of the post rock or ambient stuff I like, the music here is completely fully realized. When I listen to this album, I think it really does this amazingly perfect job of encapsulating what I feel is the sound of the emotional makeup of a fully realized human being would be. It's not any one thing, neither are any of us. That's what makes it dead brilliant.

Suzuki Junzo is a guitarist and vocalist known for his involvement in the Overhang Party, Miminokoto, Astral Travelling Unity, 20 Guilders, aside from his solo work and a couple of collaborative efforts. Pieces for Hidden Circles is volume 8 of Utech Records' "Arc" series, a consistently high quality line of recordings, most of which are guitar oriented. Each of these releases are appointed with classy and beautifully printed photographs by Max Aguillera-Hellweg, and the concept of the series is for each artist to tie the music to the photography. The fact that there is a distinctive personality to each volume is what makes this series so intriguing and artistically complex.
Pieces for Hidden Circles conisists of solo guitar, improvised on a Gibson ES335. Suzuki is restless in respect to the direction of each piece, yet patient enough to let each idea pan out. The playing is for the most part sparse and unadorned with effects, other than reverb. The style of playing doesn't fit any particular mold, which is a good thing. There's a good deal of finger-picking, a style often associated with country, bluegrass or folk music. Here, it's done with open tunings, and mixed with rough strumming.

There's undoubtedly a hint of psych within much of the album, and with the help of Suzuki's preference for treble, it's of the spiky and nervous variety. The album's greatest detour and longest track, is Hats Off to A.M., a 17 minute drone piece adorned with quiet guitar notes. It's difficult to tell how the drone was created, but it is assumed that it was done on the ES335, since that's the only instrument credited on the sleeve. It's an impressionistic, peaceful, calming, perhaps even hopeful piece of music which somehow manages to pull all of the disparate explorations, before and after it, together. As a whole, Pieces for Hidden Circles is deceptively simple on the surface, yet the big picture reveals a nuanced, fine piece of art.
(Musique Machine)


Last Updated Feb 20 2009
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