— Limited edition cf 150 cassettes available only from RVNG
— Each purchase includes a multi-format download redeemable via Bandcamp
Satomimagae breathes new vitality into Awa, her beguiling debut album, revisited and expanded for its tenth anniversary. Originally recorded, mixed and mastered by Satomi between 2011 and 2012, Awa conveys the keen-eared, wide-eyed DIY approach to the songcraft that underpins Satomi’s signature combination of lyrical haze, acoustic guitar and environmental artifacts. More of a deep reverberation than a big bang, Awa is one of several origin stories within Satomi’s universe.
Awa collects songs Satomi wrote during a seven year, mostly solitary immersion into sound that partially coincided with her time in college studying chemistry and biology. As her education continued, Satomi’s life was a repeated refrain of daily classes and nightly experiments at the university laboratory. In this hermetic existence, a fantasy world formed, and the artist reached for the few instruments she was familiar with—her old acoustic guitar, a Fender bass, and the field of sound surrounding her—to capture and contemplate the events within a musical context. With this assemblage of sound receptors, including her voice, images of moss membranes, treasure boxes, ashes and wax manifested. An alchemy of earth and illusion, and the makings of a folk album operating well outside the music’s tradition.
Working between her apartment and her parents’ home, Satomi embraced the novelty of fusing her songs with the strange sounds and rhythms found in everyday life: a whistling kettle, rattling household objects, children playing in the street. Inspired by film soundtracks, the texture of old folk and blues recordings, music from Central and South America, Africa, and the Middle East, and a commitment to experimental music, a compendium of sound emerged—roaming yet precise, tousled but unerring. Importantly, these songs respect the original timbre of the noise they contain. Modifications to the sound were avoided, including reverb and delay. And each song is decidedly different from the last, the album assorted by design. This ethos is key to Awa’s endurance—it is a multitude, a galaxy.
While Satomi’s music at this time was predominantly made alone, three musicians contribute key details to Awa. Tomohiro Sakurai, who sometimes performed live with Satomi, gives a powerful guitar performance and additional vocals to “Kusune” and “Riki.” Jazz trumpeter Yasushi Ishikawa adds an articulate sotto voce to Satomi’s lyrics in “Beni.n,” and “Tou” gains deeper emotional resonance from Kentaro Sugawara’s piano playing.
Ten years ago, Awa was self-released to a humble reception, sold as a CD by a few record shops. It was after finishing Hanazono, Satomi’s flowering sonic diorama from 2021, that she sought inspiration in her first album’s strange music. As is often the case with the earliest incarnations of an artist’s work, Satomi had once perceived her first album as lacking, flawed. But after a pause, its revisitation supplied freshness. More than simply a blueprint, Awa is matchless in its tactility and heart. It is a gift for devotees of her more recent work, rejuvenated by Satomi and remastered by Yuya Shito, in a new package designed by Will Work for Good.
Satomimagae’s Awa (Expanded) will be made available in cassette and digital editions from RVNG, and a Japanese Import CD from Plancha, on February 3, 2023.
02. Green Night
16. Mouf Remix