Pressed on orange vinyl!
The chance to slow down and take stock can be a welcome one. Hiro Amamiya certainly isn’t alone in feeling like life’s currently on pause, but the Teleman drummer’s debut solo EP Uncertainty comes during a rare break after eight years, three albums and numerous globe-trotting tours. Now comes time to reflect.
Saying that, Uncertainty isn’t a reflection on his ‘day job’ specifically. In fact, listening to it, it’s very little to do with Teleman at all. Released under the moniker Hiro Ama, the EP’s tonal references to Hiro’s Japanese homeland, use of field recordings and the pared-down house rhythms that underpin its six tracks offer a sense of staying still and expressing the thoughts, memories and emotions that flooded his mind during a period of self-isolation.
“This EP is a mixture of feelings like sadness, loneliness, confusion, hope and nostalgia” says Hiro. “It was a bit like writing a diary, only I wrote music instead.”
There is no specific narrative to Uncertainty. It was written, recorded and mixed within a month inside Hiro’s London flat; each track arrives to the listener much like a memory or thought would come to the artist. For example the shimmering house of Broken Satellite, for example, was inspired by an image of a disused satellite orbiting earth.
“There’s a sadness that it's not needed anymore, but then it's kind of beautiful in the way that it's just there floating around” explains Hiro.
Self-taught at guitar and piano, there’s an intimacy to Uncertainty, with those instruments sitting alongside Prophet 8 and Polysix keys. The constant scuttling clicks and shuffles of percussion are all taken from field recordings Hiro took from his own garden – even the kick drum is sampled from a heartbeat – and give the effect of an EP that’s up close and personal, even when it unfurls and skips along at pace.
Hiro has always worked on his own music away from Teleman, but it’s only relatively recently it’s become more visible - with remixes in 2018 and last year for Alabaster de Plume and Rozi Plain respectively. Uncertainty is altogether different though, a deeply personal and frequently beautiful journey into the mind of its creator.