Matching expansive ambience with environmental sound, Chihei Hatakeyama’s new album continues Field Records’ exploration of Japan and the Netherland’s shared approach to water management. As with Sugai Ken’s 2020 album Tone River, a specific project becomes Hatakeyama’s area of focus - in this case the Hachirōgata Lake in Akita Prefecture.
Previously the second largest body of water in Japan, the government ordered extensive drainage work of Hachirōgata Lake after the second world war with the help of Dutch engineers Pieter Jansen and Adriaan Volker. After the project was completed in 1977, reclaimed land took up eighty percent of Hachirōgata Lake’s total size. As a result, a new ecosystem was established as plants spread from surrounding areas, bringing with them a wider variety of birds and other wildlife.
Hatakeyama’s approach to this unique subject matter took in field recordings from particular locations around the lake - the drainage channels, the Ogata bridge, grassland conservation reserves and other key areas. The aquatic subject matter and sonic material is a natural fit for Hatakeyama’s accomplished sound, which has featured on numerous solo works for labels including Kranky, Room40 and his self-run White Paddy Mountain.
From the intimate intricacies of the sampled material to the glacial expanses of droning synthesis and languid guitar, Hatakeyama creates a tangible environment which at once reflects the settings around Hachirōgata Lake, while offering the listener any number of imagined scenes to observe in their mind’s eye.