The press release for Yosi Horikawa argues the devil is in the detail. It's easy to understand why. Horikawa's Vapor is a highly textual piece that creates music out of noisy layered sonics and boasts a sophisticated and ambitious sense of scale.
Vapor channels musique concrete and dubby looped samples to conjure something global in scope and seemingly heavily considered. After the opening intro, 'Bump' is a suitable indication of where Horikawa aims to take the listener. It's a tribal-influenced piece full of complex and layered sounds and, at its peak, a template for Vapor as a whole. Similarly 'Rainbow' is tropical and dizzying in ambition, a musical collage constructed of soft ambient chords and a flourish of rhythms constructed from water based samples.
Elsewhere 'Letter' is a fragile and and subtle piece that combines a broad melody with the tight detail of wound gears and spinning chains, creating a somewhat spellbinding level of melodic detail out of sounds that seemed to have been organised with impossible detail. 'Grandpa' is climatic, a moment of sun-baked tribal irrepressible celebration that starts to heave the curtain closed on a complex album.
The problem with Vapor is that it is here for too long. Yosi Horikawa constructs an album with the same earthly majesty of John Talabot's wonderful 2012 debut, but in applying it to a more freeform genre allows it to blossom. Sadly in doing so he squanders much of the magic, employing a 71-minute album structure at the expense of the listener and just about everything but length.
As the album title suggest, the music here is best consumed in a semi-transient form, at its best it is also at its most difficult to pin down. Sadly in chaining it to a long-form construct we get a album that shines in the present but fades over time. Yosi Horikawa's music might be better consumed in mini-album format. You should listen to its songs but not its whole story.