Soshi Takeda- Same Place, Another Time
The last we heard from Japan’s Soshi Takeda, he was making Balearic vaporwave inspired by a book of vintage Chinese landscape paintings and sounding like it could be the soundtrack to a Final Fantasy reboot for Nintendo. Floating Mountains, made entirely by using retro synths and technology, was a strikingly whimsical turn for Takeda and as his sophomore album, a revelation of the artist’s style. Its fantastical landscapes felt distinctly transportive and evocative, but with a playful edge that kept it from lapsing into new age fodder. His new record on Canadian label Constellation Tatsu, Same Place, Another Time takes the similar approach of finding its inspiration in images of imagined realities. This time, Takeda looks to vintage photographs and travel magazines depicting locations ‘lost with the passage of time,’ transposing the sound he conjured on Floating Mountains toward nostalgia rather than fantasy.
Same Place, Another Time is immediately more laidback than Floating Mountains. Still Balearic, still sort of wellness retreat soundtrack, but less diverse in its approach. The tempo of Takeda’s retro computer music is turned down significantly, sounding distant and cavernous like unearthing a fuzzy memory of a childhood vacation that may or may not have happened. The tracks are breezy and languid, bathed in a hazy wash of slowly pattering hand drums and glowing ambient backdrops. Peninsula takes a simple repeated percussion phrase and colours it with slippery, thrumming synths and drawn out chord progressions that feel like they may instigate some sort of past life regression hypnosis. Same Place, Another Time opens with a lo-fi beach soundscape that recalls those 00’s screensavers that came with a pre-installed sound. A hand drum pattern (arguably Same Place, Another Time’s leitmotif) flutters like linen against an ocean breeze. A xylophone arpeggio adds a distinct exoticism and sense of adventure, before a wah-ed out Fender riff sneaks in to keep things chill AF. This title track is a reminder of Takeda’s remarkable ability to conjure locales and programme soundscapes that melt into the world around you, a trick he pulled off flawlessly on Floating Mountain’s Hidden Wave.
But while for every Hidden Wave on Floating Mountains there was a Lantern Reflection, the entirety of Same Place, Another Time plays in the same lane of tone and tempo. Every track shuffles along at a similar, soft and tranquil pace and with the record being as short as it is, they often blend into each other and start sounding quite similar. By the time the smooth lounge patter of Flower arrives, you’d be forgiven for thinking the album may have started over altogether. But then again, given the record’s inspiration and Takeda’s tendency to deep dive into his subject matter, this may actually be the point. Being lulled into a sense of deja-vu or blissfully feeling like ‘perhaps I’ve been here before’ speaks directly toward Takeda’s investment into spaces ‘lost by the passage of time.’ On Same Place, Another Time he crafts a vortex, a liminal passage into the foggy realm of memories that may or may not have been imagined but nonetheless, are given the chance to be reexperienced for just a moment.
Listen to the title track from Same Place, Another Time below.
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