This collaboration was not too likely to happen. Hidekazu Wakabayashi is from Japan, and he's focused on beautiful, classical and ambient-esque music done with both electronic sounds and acoustic instruments, whereas the Scottish Harold Nono is more focused on guitar-driven expression, and even has a bit of a rock-background. These two artists, both with a long musical history, met online in 2007, and started exchanging sketches and pieces of music with each other - and, eventually, this process led to the birth of this album.
Right on the first glimpse of the album's cover image, the listener should get a pretty good image of what is to follow. It's beautiful, it's mellow, it's delicate and soulful. The beautiful synth- and piano-melodies create the main attraction with their calming and ambient sound and highly appealing melodies. They bind their different and varying sound together very well, and their slightly experimental nature really presents something new and even daring at times; the artists really didn't choose the easiest route, but it paid off. The melodies are not the main thing on the album per se, though, as many different things come together here; electronic beats occasionally give some rhythm, some field recordings serve as a window between the album's world and ours, some slightly edgy sounds keep the listener really awake and force him/her to think, and some acoustic guitars and accordion bring some occasional mysticism. Some vocals are present here and there, and they feature no words or lyrics; they're just some whispers, humming and so forth. They add a good natural and "man-made" feel to the album, making the whole just a bit more easily approachable. The album varies from parts with a really strong drive and clear instrumentation to parts with a more minimalistic and ambient-esque approach, with the sound sources being less evident - this shows in the album's peaceful but determined flow that lasts for it's whole lenght.
The album's production is just right. All the different sounds really show their soul and many dimensions, and despite their variation from really fragile acoustic guitar- and piano-notes to some even slightly noisy electronic touches to downright raw electric guitar, the whole sounds harmonic, balanced and peaceful. There are some more eccentric sounds here and there that might sound a bit out of place at first (for example the clapping audience and the rather bizarre but still soothing vocals on "I Wanted to Go to the Party"), but they're also a big part of the release's nature: it presents something soothing that's made from surprising and intriquing sounds, some of which will likely make you think about the reasons behind their placing and existence on this record overall. It all comes together in the end, trust me.
I found this album extremely enjoyable due to it's strong and emotional atmospheres, and the evident effort and daring behind it's birth. It seems to be really thought through in all aspects, all the sounds having their own place. Have no fear though, as the freely flowing and experienced handling of the instruments ensures that the end result doesn't sound forced at all. Soothing for the senses and intriquing for the mind, with a self-assured and impeccable sense of style. Pretty much the only minus points come from the dull visual side which doesn't really offer anything interesting aside of the fitting cover image.