aokigahara, the black sea of trees (long play record) - 2015
ib009 en vol
first level special edition, includes LP + bonus professionally manufactured CDr
america $25.00 USD
canada $34.00 USD
rest of the world $39.00 USD
america $22.00 USD
canada $29.00 USD
rest of the world $37.00 USD
ib009 formes de mémoire
deluxe special edition, includes LP + bonus professionally manufactured CDr + handmade packaging by wounded wolf press + pamphlet + signed dedication card
potentially out of print, please contact for more info
cover photo by tarrl lightowler
design by matthew swiezynski
mastered by a.f. jones
aokigahara, the black sea of trees is an abstract visual and sonic story-telling which takes place in a forest located in
mount fuji, japan. the forest of aokigahara, has a world-wide fame for the thousands of suicides which took place
there and now has an almost mythological statue. since 2004, government stopped publishing the statistics of suicides
to reduce the popularity of it.
the forest is spread all through with ephemera and items such as photographs, letters and instruments left behind by
the leavers, all untouched due to respect. almost entire forest is covered with long ribbons people used to be able to
return if they changed their mind. therefore, the entire land is embodied with the vicarious objects that depict the
sense of memory, loss and hope.
the auditory side of this album can be related to musical genres such as ambient and drone, but also of importance to
this album is film and film abstraction; the experience of light moving in time, as for example the work of stan
brakhage. an audio story-telling which derives from the contrast between dark and intense sounds to more delicate
and quiet auditory landscapes, where the sense of an intrinsic lament is always present, and stepping into the oblivion
gets distilled into pure sensation, that of belonging to life and hope. asphodel puts an emphasis on the romantic,
that of life relived through the forest.
asphodel is a musical and visual project of atay ilgün and alper yildirim started in 2012. asphodel, focuses on
textural music and it's combination with experimental film. it's infrastructure is always contextual and subtext is
as significant as sound and vision.
their first project aokigahara, the black sea of trees - released within the duos very own publishing house and record
label wounded wolf press -, was critically acclaimed as it was chosen as one of the best albums released that year by
highly prestigious websites such as 'a closer listen'. it was performed live on various venues and events in istanbul
including a performance in istanbul industrial fest. after more than five different editions released by their own
imprint which was distributed all over the globe and sold-out, now, this album is being published on LP by us here
at the offices of invisible birds
link to hq video; https://vimeo.com/80225779
short trailer of the video; https://vimeo.com/49553075
an auditory depiction of the forest of suicides. it sounds dramatic but it truly is not, the run time of 'the black sea of trees' goes
by quickly and before you know it you're playing the thing yet again. people tend to view this sort of subject matter as best left
unremarked; a topic which has no value - especially here in the us - and isn't meant to be discussed among polite company. better
to close the doors and draw the blinds, shuffle along and don't acknowledge what goes on day in and day out all across the world.
suppress those urges, be content with what you have; is this plastic mickey mouse reality called consumer culture not enough to
hold your interests? just keep buying things you don't need from those you cannot stand; it'll all be better in the morning.
these comforting lies which most of us tell ourselves cannot withstand the blunt candor of true feeling; to be alive is to know
that even the sunniest outlook can mask anguish.
asphodel decided they'd bring this place to light through their amazingly abstract musical sty-lings; we as an audience should thank
them for undertaking this task because it isn't done out of morbid fixation or lurid sensationalism. this record exists to document
a place which has served as an end point to thousands over the years, yes they took control of their own destiny ye faithful and
flouted your dogmatic insistence that the invisible man would not like what they've done. it isn't as though there's ever going to
be an answer from this mythological construct so why not accept that this is all there is.
you really must linger here for a while to begin getting a lay of the land, the terrain is terrifically varied with these tracks
reflecting each and every detail. asphodel's resolution settings are functioning at levels beyond the capacity most have to perceive
and yet as i've said if you spend the time needed to adjust it will all come through in a spectacular cascade. the very weather of
aokigahara seems to have been transferred onto the vinyl itself, a person can feel the wind in their face or the rain coming down
upon their head. here, in the solitary realm of that most private of activities your mind will clear.
all the events in life will fall in line and the realization that this is where everything has lead... an inescapable revelation.
so why make such an album some would ask, isn't it enough that such a place exists to begin with? no. our pair want to delve further
into the matter and i suspect what they're truly interested in is why this location was chosen to begin with. in much the same way
insects are drawn to flame only to be consumed by them, never knowing why they do as they do so humanity continue to be pulled in
by destinations like this. not all of us, mind you, but enough. enough to attract the attention of others for whom curiosity is the
ultimate frontier of the mind.
through darkness and light, into the grey dawns and slowly burning sunsets alone among the trees... these pieces playing out with
graceful decays and violent interludes, your consciousness flickering in and out of awareness all the while. never ones to do anything
by halves, invisible birds have placed an extra disc of material in this edition of asphodel's release that extends and enhances the
continually morphing electronic landscape. do take care with what you're hearing, before you know it they will be shaping every
waveform into a fascinating, alluring realm of possibility without end.
~ peter marks
a spooky ambient recording from this turkish project who conceptually based this album on aokigahara, a forest near mount fuji in
japan which has achieved notoriety because of the large number of people who have committed suicide amongst the trees, leaving
behind considerable ephemera of their lives. notes, pictures, objects all litter the forest floor as the final tracing of a human life.
while a cascading horror is evident on the first half of this album, evinced through dynamic, tumultuous roars of caustic rumble
and desolate pools of isolated tone, asphodel conjure a shifting internal drama of emotion not limited to sadness, hope, and loss
through flecks of wooden guitars and flutes, eerie reflective modulations from feedback manipulation, disembodied voices crackled
through ghostboxes, and a ton of reverb. this is a very complex piece of abstraction that honestly confronts the topic at hand while
not forgetting to draw from the existential bleakness in mapping out these very impressive recordings. originally released on asphodel's
wounded wolf imprint as a cd-r, now issued on swank vinyl via invisible birds, limited of course.
~ jim haynes
a closer listen
one of our top ten ambient releases of 2012 has just been reissued on red vinyl, and given the fact that the initial release had a print
run of only 50, this is a perfect opportunity to discover what one has missed. below you'll find a modified version of our initial
review to match the modified version of this evocative album.
the changes are threefold. first, there's a difference in appearance. while the initial offering on wounded wolf press was wrapped in
beautiful folded prints, the new design is as stark as the subject matter. the blood red cover implies something darker and altogether
more mysterious. second, the duo has changed its name from atay ilgun & alper yildirim to asphodel. third, the material has been
tightened with the excision of two tracks (both of which can still be heard here). looking back on our initial review, it's gratifying
to note that we mentioned neither track. one is the longer piece that initially closed the album ("aokigahara iiib"), while the other
is a brief coda found on the bonus disc. in their place, the duo has wisely substituted the album's most effective cut, "reverend viola
of the woodland (a touch of treefingers)", retitled it "iiib", and made it the closer.
while the music is sublime, the album's chief selling point is its sensitivity to a subject that many would be afraid to tackle, and that
few could cover with such tender respect. a horror movie ("the forest", ironically opening this weekend) demonstrates the opposite,
aokigahara, the black sea of trees is a 35-kilometer forest at the foot of mount fuji, known for its desolate beauty, its sense of silence,
and its suicides. while suicide is not necessarily stigmatized in japan, neither is it encouraged. suicide is sometimes seen as a form of
protest, a dignified, self-controlled punishment, or a means of restoring honor. yet it can also be an irreversible effort to regain
self-control, a self-crumbling, a depressive exit. in one year alone, 78 bodies were found in the forest; there's no telling how many more
might have chosen to end their lives, but reconsidered after reading the nearby signs. although the area is marked by savage beauty - icy
caverns, dense woods - it remains a popular tourist destination. any wide-eyed wonder is undercut by haunted desolation, the ghosts
swaying in the leaves, whispering curses, regrets, warnings, and perhaps murmurings of hope: it doesn't have to end this way. you don't
have to become like us.
asphodel captures the warring emotions of aokigahara through nipped breezes and fluted cries, stretches of starkness, drones of anguished
prayer. the drenching sorrow of the recording honors the memory of the fallen, providing them with a dignity that may never have been
afforded them elsewhere. slight crackles of static and restrained piano reflect the disjointed thoughts of the afflicted. one can hear the
creaks of the wood, imagine the footfalls of spirits and empathize with their emptiness. from a long, dark hymn ("ib") to a study of shunned
solitude ("iib"), album imagines what it is like to be deserted, weighing a final exit. a sense of beauty offsets the oppression, in the same
manner as the the inanimate woods scream without sound, endure, endure. ultimately, the LP is one of respectful reflection, sad but not
disillusioning, a statement of artistry intimating that art is a life-affirming force.
the steadily-developing drone of "reverend viola of the woodland", walks the listener out of the woods, intact and grateful, humbled by the
continuance of life in the presence of death. the forest remains, and others may die there; but even more will enter and find a reason to live.
~ richard allen