Hototogisu - (Floating Japanese Oof! Gardens of the 21st Century (2 x CD Important)

Matthew Bower is difficult to keep up with, Skullflower, Total, Sunroof, Hototogisu…  he clearly has a need to get all his music out there. So to some extent you have to wonder why “Floating Japanese Oof! Gardens of the 21st Century” needs another reissue. It started life as a double CDr, then reappeared as a triple vinyl album on De Stijl back in 2004 and now we get this version on double CD from Important. 

Floating Japanese Oof! was the third Hototogisu release and a solo Bower effort (subsequent Hototogisu releases also feature Marcia Bassett from Double Leopards). 

The 12 pieces contained on these 2 CDs feature Bower creating multi layered guitar works with loops jostling for position while percussive elements sit subtlety in the background adding to rather than distracting from what Bower is doing up front. It almost comes across as meditative sort of an album one you can easily get absorbed in and lost in. Brief snatches of voices and radio stations, drones and what almost sounds like reed instruments all serve to entrance the listener even further. You can almost see Matthew Bower here taking his influence from the likes of Terry Riley and La Monte Young (there are snatches where the voices sound not dissimilar to that of La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s vocal drones). 

An important release this, in that it depicts the last time that Hototogisu was a solo affair so I can see why Important decided to put this back out. Marcia Bassett does however make her presence felt as I believe the lovely watercolours on the cover and disc labels are by her. 

A great set of discs to get lost in and a pretty decent entry point for anyone looking to investigate Hototogisu or Matthew Bower in general. DB