Berlin-based Japanese vibraphone player Masayoshi Fujita, also known under his alias el fog, came to the attention of label founder Robert Raths a few years ago. Not only because the vibraphone is an intriguing instrument, but also the way Masayoshi treats his instrument and draws ethereal and layered sounds, is what truly attracted him to Masayoshi’s work.
Having released more ambient-based/electronic recordings of the vibraphone under el fog, Masa became more interested in the sound of the vibraphone itself. He started to compose acoustic pieces and released the first solo album under his real name, titled ‘Stories’, in early 2013. ‘Apologues’, out September 11, sees Masayoshi for the first time use an array of instruments besides his lead instrument – such as the violin, cello, flute, clarinet, French horn, accordion, piano and snare drum played by friends, but arranged by Masa himself.
In addition to the mallets, Masayoshi often plays the vibraphone with a violin or cello bow, like on ‘Tears of Unicorn’ and ‘Knight and Spirit of Lake’. He would also place 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, whilst the vibraphone takes a supporting role. “The clarinet sounds very warm and soft and very ‘spring’ to me”, says Masa.
“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. Erased Tapes releases a lot of great stuff and naturally became my favourite label of late. And I thought it would fit well to my music.” – Masayoshi Fujita
· listen to 'Tears of Unicorn' · pre-order ‘Apologues’ on LP/CD/DL