Today, Nobuyuki Sakuma (former member of Jesse Ruins) released his second full-length album as CVN. Though it feels like a logical departure from the darting techno doom-scape in Sakuma’s preceding album, Matters, the huge breadth of emotions channeled in i.c. makes for an unpredictable listening experience. Track by track, Sakuma calls for us to rely on our sense of imagination rather than direction, and follow him, unhurried, through the “mutating” cityscapes of Tokyo.
Kicking off i.c. with a pop track, “成分” consists of lullaby-ish melodies and kind, female vocals by NTsKi. It is followed by “Excuse” feat. Cemetery, which builds a sense of tension and curiosity through its steady beat, ambient diffusion of vocal samples, droning strings, nature sounds, and colorful synth blips. The track eventually wriggles free from its forward marching drums, as if to give us a chance to look around at the diverse soundscape that Sakuma has built before moving onwards.
With an ominous chorus and an abundance of industrial whirring, “You Argued for Justice” delivers a dark catharsis to the prior track’s buildup. Though the begin of “Snippets of Heaven” might lead you to believe we’ve reached a glitchy techno destination, it resolves to another moment of sonic reverence. Next, “Local Pain” feat. Le Makeup uses bright guitars to take an unexpectedly upbeat turn, and so it goes. Sakuma purportedly allows his mood to dominate the direction of each track. As a result, i.c. moves between heaviness and zen, while often finding a way to balance the two elements within the same track.
i.c. resembles its predecessor, Matters, through intricate and inventive synthesized sounds, and an untethered, winding, sense of motion. Both albums are experimental in their own right, but i.c. find chaos in moments of stillness, and each track’s organic undercurrent to shine through. Each beat finds a flow that is interesting and rhythmically unique, but not so heady that it requires technical appreciation in order to be enjoyed.
Like walking through Tokyo, there is always something new waiting to be discovered in i.c. Every layer that is peeled back gives us another clue about the place from which Sakuma is sending us his message.
When he’s not making music, Sakuma works as an editor at the online music magazine, AVYSS, and curates a mix series called Gray Matter Archives. So while the more avant-garde aspects of this album are likely inspired by Japan’s experimental electronic scene, tracks like “Excuse” and “下丘 Kakyu” utilize traditional Japanese instruments and reflect the juxtaposition of hypermodernity and history that exists within Tokyo.
CVN will be performing in Philly on June 19th at Berks Warehouse, along with label-mate Koeosaeme
Stream i.c. by CVN below!