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Visible Cloaks Team Up With Japanese Ambient Pioneers Yoshio Ojima and Satsuki Shibano on “Stratum”

Visible Cloaks are known fans of 1980s Japanese ambient and environmental music, and the Portland experimental duo have announced a new full-length collaboration with ambient pioneers Yoshio Ojima and Satsuki Shibano. Titled serenitatem, the release is part of the long-running FRKWYS series from the New York label RVNG Intl., which includes exclusive collaborative releases from Anthony Moore, Juliana Barwick, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and more.

In the buildup to the album’s release this April, the artists have shared a video for their piece “Stratum.” Directed by Kiyotaka “Kiyo” Sumiyoshi, the video finds numerous shapes and industrial objects drifting through a neutral space, with brief snapshots of sky interspersed behind 3D renderings of buildings.

“The aim was to make a work that was not specifically ambient (or environmental),” Visible Cloaks’ Spencer Doran shared in a statement. “But something more multi-hued, weaving these deconstructive concepts into an album that has a deeper architecture underpinning it.”

Doran recently curated a collection of ambient, environmental, and new age music from the era for the archival imprint Light in the Attic. In addition to including music from Yoshio Ojima, the release also includes music from other Japanese musicians like Yellow Magic Orchestra members Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Yoshio Ojima and Satsuki Shibano have notably collaborated in the past on releases including Caresse, Music For Element, and Belle De Nuit. While Ojima is best known for his connection to the Japanese environmental music of the 1980s, Satsuki Shibano established her reputation as a performer of the music French composers Erik Satie and Claude Debussy just as ambient and environmental music were gaining popularity in Japan.

serenitatem is out April 5 via RVNG Intl. Watch the video for “Stratum” below and revisit our recent feature on Haruomi Hosono, Hiroshi Yoshimura, and strange resurgence of Japanese environment music by way of YouTube’s related video algorithm.