Ai Aso's immaculately crafted form of minimalist pop music skirts the edges of tensity with the manner and with the skill of a tight rope walker, calmly balancing repeatedly at every step, with a combination of surety and the risk of a slip, a fall, and an unknown uncoiling of events. Aso's capacity to capture, or inspire, the tension and attention from within the listener and observer are quite pronounced. At Aso's concert the performance constantly teeters near the brink, a sharpened awareness in the hall emerges from all observing, with the will of that most delicate balance. On The Faintest Hint she brings a meta level to the proceedings, the dream of a singer in a bright sunlit room in the center of the density of the society, simply and precisely searching for single ideas, single tones, a sense of sensuality and even a dream of a grandeur (rock dream) emerge. A stillness prevails, even a sharp set of instances of dreaming, melancholia, nostalgia... or even saudade. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Soichiro Nakamura at Peace Music between 2018-2020. Atsuo and I joined these sessions as producers, and more so as catalysts, yet also became the skeleton of a band on the album (with the tender touch). The legendary Japanese rock band Boris accompany Aso on two pieces. A faintest hint of sharpness and la tendresse féroce quickly erodes into a fine brief cloud of the purest crystalline dust." --Stephen O'Malley, Stockholm June 2020
Personnel: Ai Aso - vocals, guitar, synth; Stephen O'Malley - guitar, bass, synth; Atsuo - percussion; also, Boris play on "Scene" and "Sight". All songs and words written by Ai Aso. Produced by Stephen O'Malley and Atsuo; Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Soichiro Nakamura at Peace Music 2018-2020; Cut by Andreas Kauffelt at Schnitstelle, Berlin, April 2020. Photography by Miki Matsushima, Tokyo, June 2020. Thanks to Alan Cummings. Violet vinyl
Tokyo's Ai Aso is a Japanese psychedelic pop singer-songwriter whose work has a whisper-thin acid-folk quality to it. She started performing as a solo singer around 2000. Her solo work, infrequent collaborations with White Heaven members You Ishihara and Michio Kurihara, Yurayura Teikoku, and Boris bring a level of fragility and hypnotism to the stage, recalling lost memories, small flavors of Coil, and serial playing on the verge of evaporation.