広島／宮島 – Hiroshima / Miyajima
広島／宮島 – Hiroshima / Miyajima is the 3rd official ep by orbit over luna and the 2nd in the Japan series.
Shannon Penner – all instruments except:
Andrew Tasselmyer – bass on track 2
Andy Othling – electric guitar & ambience on track 5
composed & mixed by Shannon Penner
mastered by Taylor Deupree (12k Mastering)
©℗2013 Shannon Penner
track 1: 原爆ドーム – Genbaku Dome
The Genbaku Dome(Atomic Bomb Dome) is one of the most iconic images in Hiroshima. It is the building that was almost directly under the bomb when it went off on August 6, 1945. The building remained partially intact with it’s signature latticework dome.
At the Peace memorial we were told that there actually was one survivor from the building. He was in the basement during the blast and apparently lived into old age.
Musically, I did not want this to be a depressing piece. The monument is actually quite peaceful and beautiful despite it’s horrific history. I did want to weave an undercurrent of deterioration. This is symbolized in the textures throughout the track and coming to the forefront at the end.
track 2: 宮島水中花火 – Miyajima Water Fireworks
When we first arrived in Miyajima, there just so happened to be a huge Fireworks festival taking place that evening. We hopped on the train and then the ferry and came across the most amount of people in one place than I have ever seen! Deciding to go along with it we got swept up in the crowd visiting food stalls set up for the occasion. The fireworks themselves were beautiful…unfortunately we didn’t get the greatest spot to see them. You probably had to show up that morning to get the good spots. It was an amazing experience being in such a different cultural situation.
The opening and closing sections of this track were written a while ago but I couldn’t find a spot for it. I added the middle section to show some of the bustle of that experience. Some odd time signatures in there to shake things up a bit. The bass was so wonderfully played by Andrew Tasselmyer(The Sound of Rescue).
track 3: 広電志 – Hiroden Hope
One of the most amazing things we discovered while at the Peace Memorial was that 3 days after the bomb devastated the city, the Hiroshima Electric Railway Co.(広島電鉄株式会社 Hiroshima Dentetsu Kabushiki-gaisha) or Hiroden(広電) for short had some of their tram lines into the city up and running. 3 DAYS LATER! They felt that seeing the familiar trams would give the people hope. This shows a Japanese trait of such intense fortitude. Rebuilding from such ruin was an astonishing feat.
For this reason Hiroshima has a love of trams and will buy up the streetcars that other cities are getting rid of and put them into service.
Musically, this track is a little different. It starts off somewhat mechanical, which to me represents the Hiroden trams. It changes into the most post-rock thing I’ve ever done. With wailing guitars in the background the last half of the track keeps lifting and lifting giving a whole rising-from-the-ashes feel.
track 4: 弥山 – Misen Yama
Mt. Misen is the name of one of the mountains in Miyajima. It is 1,755 ft above sea level and is surrounded by a primeval forest. It is accessible by a climbing “path” or by ropeway. We decided to climb. It was the middle of August which is the hottest time of year, doing strenuous climbing(it took around 1.5-2 hours) in the middle of a dense, humid forest…
Needless to say, we felt the most disgusting we’ve ever felt in our loves BUT at the top we felt like a million bucks. The view from the summit is breathtaking! The cover of this ep is a view from the top of Mt. Misen and you can see Hiroshima in the distance on the right.
I started writing the track with some guitar drone patches that I’ve been creating. Layers of percussion building to the mid section where it drops out for a few bars leaving just the drones and the keys. A lot of post-rock music starts off quiet and builds to a wall-of-sound and I wanted to do something a little different by not keeping that intensity right to the end. As the second half progresses I start pulling the instruments out; fading it out arrangement wise. This track to me feels like a panorama view.
track 5: Hiroshima: City of Peace
When thinking of Hiroshima, what often comes to mind is it’s devastating history. Yes, this is a big part of the personality of the city but after visiting it that is not the impression that was left with me. I was so impressed by it’s resilience and it’s tenacity. It has picked itself up and become something so impressive. There is a spirit of peace that the city exudes.
“Hiroshima was proclaimed a City of Peace by the Japanese parliament in 1949, at the initiative of its mayor, Shinzo Hamai (1905–1968). As a result, the city of Hiroshima received more international attention as a desirable location for holding international conferences on peace as well as social issues.” ~ wikipedia
I wanted this track to sound expressive and ‘open’, if that makes any sense. And intimate. I really did try to limit myself with the instrumentation. Things can get pretty out of hand when I start layering. So I really pulled back. 3 tracks of percussion only. 1 taiko and then 2 smaller percussion tracks. Acoustic guitar and then a layered melody line. In the last acoustic guitar part at the end I actually pulled it back completely. I dropped out all the ambience and effects leaving only a fragile guitar with just a touch of reverb. It feels so intimate to me.
Andy Othling, the guy behind Lowercase Noises, provided the electric guitars and ambience which fits underneath. I specifically requested him to play his Gretsch on at least one pass just because I’ve always wanted one…
list of awesome people
These are some people who really helped me and inspired me during the process of making this ep:
Michel de Jong: an audio genius. your expertise is rivalled only by your kindness. your advice saved some of my mixes.
Paul Jobin: your passion and your sincerity is so appreciated and infectious.
Greg Zajac: always an inspiring person to talk to. you challenge me to always push my art further.
Andrew Tasselmyer & Andy Othling: thank you so much for agreeing to play on this ep. your contributions are amazing and i’m thrilled to have been able to work with you!
and of course Matt Kidd and the cast of the Ambient Guitar facebook page.
©℗2013 Shannon Penner