Next on Lawrence English‘s Room 40 is Tokyo ambient maestro Chihei Hatakeyama with Forgotten Hill, a record about the “melting of time.” 

Over nine tracks, Hatakeyama creates an impressionist meditation on his journey through the Asuka region of Japan, which hosted the nation’s capital from the sixth to seventh centuries. Today, it is an unpopular rice-drenched rural area, and, although there are few tourists compared to Kyoto and the northern part of Nara, the region still draws people because of its burial mounds, known as “Kofun,” epic Buddhist monuments, and quietly poetic landscapes. “This album draws all of its inspiration from this trip,” he explains. “The experiences I had on this journey were used as compositional guides to compile the sonic impressions I experienced during this time.” 

Hatakeyama, born in 1978, has performed for years under his given name and also as one half of the electro-acoustic duo Opitope, along with Tomoyoshi Date. He became involved in playing music through strumming a guitar in a few rock-oriented bands in his teenage years, but his laptop soon superseded his bands as his main platform. His first album, Minima Moralia, was commissioned for release by Kranky in early 2006, and he’s since released long-players on White Paddy Mountain and Room 40, where he put out Mirage in 2017. 

This is a record about time, about losing direction in time and wondering where it is exactly the past, the present and the future might meet, and under what circumstances this might happen.— Chihei Hatakeyama 

Forgotten Hill LP lands September 20. 


01. Forgotten hill 4:01 

02. Cherry blossom petals fall like heavy snow 5:22 

03. Falling star 4:07 

04. Sleeping queen 4:53 

05. The constellation space 4:18 

06. Staring at the mountain 2:24 

07. Buddha statue without roof 3:41 

08. The big stone tomb 3:39 

09. Fugitive from wisteria filed