For a certain type of music fan, the announcement of a new addition to experimentally-minded New York-based record label RVNG Intl’s long-running Frkwys series of collaboratively-produced LPs is cause for serious celebration: craft beers all round, right?
Today the venerable imprint – who’ve played home over the years to everyone from Julia Holter to Hieroglyphic Being via Oliver Coates and Stellar OM Source – offers the world a super-soothing set of ambient slappers courtesy of pairing new-age-of-new-age big boys Visible Cloaks with the deadly Japanese duo of Yoshio Ojima and Satsuki Shibano, who ruled the avant-roost over there in the 1990s. They’ve come together to record serenitatem, the 15th entry into the Frkwys cannon, and it is one of the most enveloping albums of 2019 to date.
Yes, we have been lucky enough to hear it, and no, you can’t borrow our copy. Sorry.
All of which is all well and good, but, well, why are you sat here on It’s Nice That reading about a very good ambient album you’ll probably end up zoning out to every Sunday morning coming up in the next few months? Because RVNG Intl has recruited contemporary Japanese artist and director Kiyotaka “Kiyo” Sumiyoshi to put together a suitably-odd video for the lead single, Stratum, of course.
Coming on like a particularly disquieting corporate video for the sort of anonymous future city that only really exists in nightmares, the Stratum visual is a perfectly potent exploration of objects and space, rendered in that faux-naive late-90s point-and-click aesthetic that seems to be all the rage with the kind of very serious men you see peering into lattes at the ICA canteen at weekends.