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To Remain in a Meadow with Hiroshi Yoshimura

Carelessly tip-toeing at the edge of eternity, the humble intersection of the heart and the mind, I find a key. The vault opens to a boundless space where time stands still, emotions collide, and I crumble to the core of my existence, ready to feel everything. Do I even begin to express the influence of Hiroshi Yoshimura’s immortal compositions on my mortal human body?

For me, and perhaps for most of us, Yoshimura’s works are known only posthumously. In their timelessness, however, his compositions pique every node and edge of my brain network and plant roses in my backyard.

As I write this, Yoshimura’s quintessential album ‘GREEN‘, first released in 1986 is now a Japanese ambient cult favourite with rising popularity, soothingly plays, once again, in the background. At first listen, GREEN stirs something irrevocably within and without warning—draws into a mindless journey of casual strolls through winding roads to an unknown landing.

In the blissful 43 minutes that this album stretches on to, I think of the Japanese winter of 1985-86, a young Yoshimura locked away in his private recording studio, Hiroh 806, framing rhythmic textures by following a mere path of growing emotions in its formation and not so much its final purpose.

All eight compositions on this album present sublime layers of character and tones suspended with a minimalistic endurance that outlives the nuances of modern reality. It is, possibly, the uninhibited curation of these soundscapes, touched with a soft-hearted intimacy, that provides a sense of escapism to a seeking mind and keeps the listener hooked and eager for replays.

Hiroshi Yoshimura Portrait 2

"It is, possibly, the uninhibited curation of these soundscapes,
touched with a soft-hearted intimacy, that provides a sense of escapism
to a seeking mind and keeps the listener hooked and eager for replays"

While GREEN continues to serve as a backdrop to one too many nostalgic daydreaming, it is intriguing to know that the title of the album does not refer to the colour itself but to its phonetic value. On the sleeve of the original record, a capitalised GREEN is etched across in English with an obscure acronym running downwards onto the length of the sleeve that reads, ‘Garden River Echo Empty Nostalgia/ Ground Rain Earth Environment Nature.’ The detailed creativity surrounding this masterpiece, to its very literal description, leaves GREEN lush, ethereal, and sometimes beyond a simple person’s comprehension.

Following his earlier works, my obsession runs endlessly through his discography, inspiring a heightened sense of listening that strongly compliments all other sensations and enhances the impressions of my consciousness. Designed for a line of prefabricated homes, the album ‘Soundscape 1: Surround‘ dreamily opens with ‘Time After Time‘, a moving, immersive experience so beautiful and powerfully eloquent that you don’t know what to do with such a sound.

In his writings to 1983’s ‘Pier & loft‘, Yoshimura expresses visions of a melancholic decaying city that later translated into a subdued soundtrack to a fashion show held in a warehouse on Tokyo Bay, while 1984’s ‘A・I・R (Air in Resort)‘ sonically describes a line of perfumes by Shiseido all of which add to a profound catalog of listening experiences that dance with all the human senses.

In reminiscence, Yoshimura’s sonic explorations intended for closed spaces have now naturally overflown their primary confinement, framing, and shapeshifting into the mutating feelings of a contemporary listener.

Being stuck in this 1980s summer sonic daydream with Hiroshi Yoshimura during a bitter Berlin winter of 2023, almost two decades after his demise, I’m pondering over a personality that only exists in fragments of sounds, words, a small archive of what seems like five images, and one pixelated video of his show at the Hinoemata Performance Festival of 1986 on the internet.

The more I know him from his compositions, the more I want to get to know him, and it’s, perhaps, this gap in time and the nature of transitory lives that makes this romance all the more alluring.

To Hiroshi, with love.