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Song Samples / Digital Downloads
LP version. Includes download code. Berlin-based Japanese vibraphonist and composer Masayoshi Fujita, after releasing more ambient-based electronic recordings of the vibraphone under his el fog alias, became more interested in the sound of the vibraphone itself. He started to compose acoustic pieces and released his first solo album under his real name, titled Stories, in early 2013. Apologues sees Fujita use an array of instruments besides his lead instrument for the first time, such as the violin, cello, flute, clarinet, French horn, accordion, piano, and snare drum -- played by friends, but arranged by Fujita himself. "My idea was to let those instruments express their own images or atmospheres that each instruments have by nature, or have been given in their history, and not treating them just as accompaniments of the vibraphone. Also, it was new for me to compose a song as a whole. As I wrote the vibraphone part first, I tried to hear other sounds in my head and tried to leave enough room for them and sometimes play only fundamental parts on the vibes." In addition to the mallets, Fujita often plays the vibraphone with a violin or cello bow, like on "Tears of Unicorn" and "Knight and Spirit of Lake." He also places bead strings on the vibraphone bars to create an ambient shimmer that can be heard on songs like "Moonlight" and "Swallow Flies High in the May Sky." The latter was composed to let the clarinet express its characteristics and tell its story, while the vibraphone takes a supporting role. "The clarinet sounds very warm and soft and very 'spring' to me," says Fujita. Inspired by "the silence and deepness of the fog, the mountains and the gravity within," his music has a unique, evocative atmosphere. He connects the song "Requiem," which he composed for French horn, to "images of mountains, fields and the far away." "Tears of Unicorn" was inspired by a painting that features in Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli animation Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), drawn by a woman that lives in the forest. "With this album the main idea was to evoke images, atmospheres, sceneries and stories in the listener, the images that have accumulated in myself. At the same time it was an exploration of the unexplored beauty of the vibraphone, and also a pursuit of the charm of the instrumentation and the music itself." --Fujita