Much favoured by a certain current of ambient minimalism, Japan has already given the parisian label Taâlem the opportunity to release a few of its most beautiful pieces, and this new batch of three-inch CD-Rs, mostly written by newcomers, gives us the chance to immerse ourselves again in this music, with its familiar and yet unknown outlines. We start our journey with Nobuto Suda, co-founder of the label Tobira Records (with Hakobune), who appeared in the ambient scene in 2010 and has never stopped since enriching it with luminous tracks, preferably long. Twilight Garden, his CD-R for Taâlem, is indeed made of one single piece based on an extensive and soft drone overlapped by melancholic layers. With very limited means, Nobuto Suda manages to create a whole universe, polychrome and loaded with emotions. For his first and so far only release, Hitoshires, a.k.a Sasagu Ota, reaches even higher and looks at the stars with the aptly-named Stella. On that record, long layers are created, evolve, repeat themselves and die before making way for new ones, and the whole process wonderfully evokes the movement of the stars that one could watch for hours in a summer sky. Pure and minimal, the clearness of Hitorishes’ ambient fascinates and opens up several spaces from almost nothing. Takahiro Yorifuji, the “veteran” of this selection, made himself known for the first time five years ago and has already written a dozen albums as Hakobune. As comfortable with short tracks as he is with longer pieces, he’s a fervent defender of the drone, which occupies the major part of his work. Over the twenty-three minutes of Believed Remains, he lets a muffled and repetitive drone build a compact framework in which he introduces discrete exhalations and other drones, thinner, and we sail over a hypnotic mass without finding any clear exit way. Finally, a Frenchman living in Kyoto, Samuel André, a.k.a. IEVA, closes this Japanese series with La Cascade de la Montagne de l’Aube [ 日ノ岡 の滝], a rich and fascinating record. While his predecessors most of the time chose very limited sound sources, IEVA prefers clear drones, field recordings and real melodies to form a pointillist landscape. Using birdsong, the wind, water sounds, indistinct cracking and aerial melodies, IEVA offers a vision of HIS Japan, the vision of a Western man in a foreign land which gets richer little by little, as ritual percussion and chanting voices (we’re somewhere between a ceremony and a demonstration, unless it’s both) let life seep in through every corner of the landscape, a vision which hardens and becomes more radical but never loses its apparent composure in the process. Yin and Yang (and all the relationships that unite them) are expressed and exposed in a little over twenty minutes: not an easy challenge, and yet a particularly impressive balance is achieved in this record.