Today’s featured EP takes inspiration from Japanese folklore to take us into a mystical and unknown place full of beauty, wonder and dreams, with a tint of horror lurking in a corner. Tales From Tono, from English composer C-Beem, is inspired by 1910 publication by Kunio Yanagita The Legends of Tono. Through a deep exploration of musical soundscapes and surreal lyrics, C-Beem presents an immersive album full of magic.
C-Beem’s (a.k.a Chris Mils) sound is based on the synth as we can see by his previous work. By playing around and experimenting, he is not only able to craft unique sounds but to harmonize them in unique and interesting ways, creating musical soundscapes that take us into far away lands, as well as telling stories through music. C-Beem’s sound is deeply rooted on that of Peter Gabriel, Vangelis, Kate Bush, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tangerine Dreams. In the case of Tales From Tono, C-Beem also takes inspiration by Asian music in a particular way. Instead of searching for authenticity, he created his own sound inspired by the diverse melodies, scales and harmonies that are characteristic of Japanese music.
‘Tales From Tono’ came to me as a kind of projection from my previous EP ‘C-Beem And The Winter Thickets’. I wanted to capture a magical, folkish feel to a new project but in a different context and with a different sound. I live in an island country full of myth and legend, and I wondered what equivalents there might be in Japan, because it’s been said that Japan is like the British Isles of the East – a parallel country which has always fascinated me, though I’ve never been there. Both island nations have a long history of feudalism, rigid social structures, elite knights, and of course: folk legends. The folk legends of Japan are as rich as you would find in the legends of Cornwall in south-west England, and a special hotspot is the fabled village of Tono in the Iwate prefecture, which you can visit to this day. Kunio Yanagita was inspired by it to publish ‘The Legends of Tono’ in 1910 which led to the famous photographic compendium ‘Tales Of Tono’ by Daido Moriyama, first published 1976. C-Beem
C-Beem uses his main weapon, the synth, to create outstanding tracks full of mystery and beauty. He captures the beauty and mysticism of Japanese folk tales: their beauty and their uncaniness in music form. “Those Hills” is an atmospheric introduction to the lands where the tales we will know better in the following songs. Magical, with a touch of darkness that draws us deeply. “Far Away Village” is an instrumental track inspired by Japanese music. The synths create a new feeling of a clash between the old and the traditional. The magic of the EP becomes apparent with the ghostly tracks “Bow to the Kappa” and “Mayoiga- Phantom House”. These two dark tracks are dominated by synth beats and ghostly lyrics, as they delve into the supernatural. C-Beem sings about the mystical Kappa, a Japanes turtle-like creature with human-like qualities, and a mayoiga, an abandoned but well kept house. The last track of the EP is “Osharisama- Star Crossed Lovers”. C-Beem creates a jazz track which maintain the ghostly atmosphere of the EP. Mils includes improvisation in his synths, as well as in his backing vocals, creating a bizarre, yet exciting combination.
C-Beem newest EP is a mystical journey to another world. Tales From Tono proves he has mastered the creation of sophisticated soundscapes for storytelling purposes. It is an original album that must not be missed out. Make sure to press that play button!
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