Sachiko Kanenobu: Misora
Sachiko Kanenobu’s sparse, mostly acoustic music casts a lowvolume spell. There has been a sustained interest in quiet, hushed music, handmade, gentle songs during the past 15 years, including critical darlings such as Joanna Newsom and Laura Marling. A previous generation of similar semi-obscure singer-songwriters, many of whom had quietly retired or given up music for other pursuits, have been rediscovered, yielding a mellow goldmine of rereleases. Artists like Vashti Bunyan, Bridget St. John, Elyse Weinberg and Ruthann Friedman have gotten a much deserved second listen. Sachiko Kanenobu is part of that wave of rediscoveries. (She recently returned to Japan to play her first show there in over 40 years, and she was greeted as a long-lost hero.) Kanenobu recorded Misora , in Tokyo, with the influential artist Haruomi Hosono providing accompaniment and some of the arrangements for the record. It was released in 1972, a few years after Kanenobu moved to the U.S. As a kid in Osaka, Kanenobu fell in love with Pentangle, and her playing can bring to mind related guitarist/singers like Anne Briggs. Sometimes she summons comparisons to Judee Sill. “Aoi Sakana (Blue Fish)” is a standout, coming off like Carole King sitting in with Neil Young. And the delicate “Haru Ichiban No Kaze Wa Hageshiku (The First Strong Winds of Spring)” is propelled by spectacularly minimal slide guitar. Elsewhere, like on “Hayabusa Tu Watashi (Falcon and I),” Kanenobu uses spare, skeletal chording, which increases the slow-burn intensity.