Somnambule - Writing About Music

Taylor Deupree + Eisi ~ Every Still Day

Eisi are a Japanese trio whose 2003 debut, awaawa, was a collection of acoustic compositions and delicate electronic treatments. Eisi Is Stirring acts as a brief prologue: suspended piano notes meld with the ambient sound of conversations captured through a small microphone. With Awaawa (Window), the strangeness of the music begins to reveal itself. It’s as if it were heard emanating from a shuttered house in the quiet of an afternoon siesta. Mujika Easel’s voice wafts along as though she were singing privately to herself. Tsutomu Kobori’s steel strung acoustic guitar and Masaaki Morita’s treated trumpet accompany a voice subtly distressed by electronic treatment. Awaawa (Window) and its companions sound like songs gathered from different (mirrored) reflections.

Note 1 (Variation), features Christopher Willitts guesting on guitar. His ringing, looping contribution is married to a pensive, percussive rhythm and coheres into the most robust form encountered on Every Still Day. Deupree has talked of welcoming the opportunity to engage with pop forms, but it’s only this song that can be described in such terms. 14 (Alta) begins, shivering, high up and gradually descends and in so doing creates its own archaeology as it goes. Voice Or Vice (Rise) breaks apart again into dappled sunlight, the hum of midday accompanying Easel’s wandering notes. The music conjures distant memories of Bruno Ganz’s sun-drenched Street Of Crocodiles, itself a recollection of the author’s childhood.

Every Still Day refuses to offer up its secrets in one listening. It’s a gentle, marginal work, a gathering of in-between moments. Judging by the one MP3 of the original work available on the label’s website, Deupree’s production adds a patina reminiscent of a porcelain lustreware glaze or the aged silver of an antique mirror. Every Still Day is a shifting palimpsest of fragments, of plays of light and shadow, image and recall, life and mimesis.
Colin Buttimer
September 2005
Published by e/i Magazine