- Following a string of Sapphire Slows records between 2011 and 2013, new material from the Japanese musician Kinuko Hiramatsu has been rare. She has put this absence down to a turning point in her life. When discussing her late 2016 comeback single, Confession / Piece of You, Hiramatsu told The Fader, "I made a bunch of songs in 2014 and 2015 amid confusion and musical experimentation." She arrives with another batch of tracks on this 12-inch for the new Mundus series from Nous.
Often dragged out over woozy house grooves or tinny pop arrangements, Hiramatsu's heavily processed voice was once an integral part of Sapphire Slows. It's largely absent on The Role Of Purity. Instead, she focusses on delicate synthesis. There are moments of striking beauty, but none more so than the 11-minute title track, where percussive elements disrupt the synthetic incandescence like a spring shower falling on a puddle's refection of the sun.
"Speculation" snaps you out of this calm, as Hiramatsu conjures what sounds like a brain being sucked out of a skull. It soon moves into a less foreboding mood. Exquisite chimes lead a procession of plucked notes, chirping birds and Hiramatsu's unintelligible vocals, obscuring the sucking sound's return. The contemplative "Mallets & Marbles," a detail-rich exercise in percussive interplay, could be Hiramatsu referencing her homeland's famed new age practitioners. "Silent Escape" ends on a minimalist note, achieving startling lucidity from what seems to be just one or two synths. It's a fitting finale for a captivating record.
A1 The Role Of Purity
B1 Mallets & Marbles
B2 Silent Escape