Kagami Smile - Obscured Face
Released: January 27
Consisting of five long-form droning ambient tracks, Obscured Face lives up to its name with its eerie coarseness and indistinct low rumble backing up virtually every track. From the very first track which bears the name of the album itself, we can hear the strange fuzziness and indeterminate tone, especially with the buried backbeat of a four on the floor kick that is so hopelessly distorted it can only barely register as a beat. For me, this is the standout track of the entire album as this otherwise strange addition brings a certain energy to a drone track that I rarely hear anywhere else.
While this track is unique in this respect, the remainder of the album takes strides to slowly separate this motif from the music rather than simply drop it and forget it existed. "Window Inside a Window" contains a similar theme although it takes the more distinct thudding and turns it into a less perceptible rumble with a less pronounced presence. By the final track, "Reflecting Mirror," this theme is reduced to nothing more than a single low-tone that carries along with the rest of the cold and coarse drones that fill the track with an icy beauty.