Review Summary: Profoundly beautiful and skillfully executed, "Little Grace" stands as a crowning achievement, and proof that Yasushi Yoshida is truly capable of meeting, and exceeding the bar raised by his contemporaries.
Yasushi Yoshida is like the middle child of the Japanese post-rock/neo-classical movement; always there but never really noticed. Never really managing to reach the same heights as his peers, who include World’s End Girlfriend (as well as Katsuhiko Maeda’s other projects) and Kashiwa Daisuke, Yoshida takes the foreground, producing equally unassuming music. It’s fitting in this sense, really, that an artist who so revels in minimalism is deprived of any sort of fame or profound attention. Regardless, Yoshida is just as competent (in some cases even more) as his limelight hoarding peers, as Little Grace
, his second effort, so deftly displays.
is simply an awe-inspiring, dramatic, and dynamic affair. Profoundly beautiful, it moves seamlessly and effortlessly between bouts of minimalism and climatic explosions. Rarely, however, does he ever lose control, or push beyond the boundaries of his “mellow” sound. It truly is a very quiet
album, despite the obvious and veritable passions contained within. A lot of creative energy was expended to create Little Grace
, a sentiment that becomes apparent almost immediately. While it does feature strictly instrumental songs sans the vocals, It’s impossible to tag as post-rock, as it features almost no “rock” tendencies. It’s a largely neo-classical driven affair, with very few modern day post-rock aesthetics.
Yoshida employs strings, piano, and guitar liberally, with little to no use of electronics. It’s much more organic this way, as much of the album has a much stripped down feel to it, making for a very intimate record. The violin, cello, and piano are especially used, creating very simple yet gorgeous harmonies. It is in this blissful simplicity that Little Grace
finds its voice, as the subtle intertwining of instruments makes for an ingenious formula. Yoshida clearly feels comfortable in this intimacy, which is resonated when his more ambitious moments tend to come off as slightly contrived.
Aside from the sparse moments of inconsistency, every aspect of Little Grace
is wholly enjoyable, immersible, and above all else, beautiful. Tracks like “Lullaby for Rainsongs” manage to awe with little effort, while others, such as “Thread Still,” feel more cumbersome, but still rather entrancing. The album is more than a sum of its parts, however, in that it is full of great songs, but is anchored by one cohesive, consistent sound. Yoshida composed these pieces to mesh perfectly together, and despite a couple of hiccups, he greatly succeeded.
Yasushi Yoshida deserves all the praise that his Japanese peers receive. His thoughtful and creative approach is something not typically heard in today’s instrumental music scene. Little Grace
, because of this, manages to be one of the strongest, most inherently beautiful pieces of music to arise from scene, and is an absolutely essential listening experience for anyone even remotely interested in the genre.