1. Aoki Yutaka – I am Lost (Feat. Morrie) (01:42)
2. Aoki Yutaka – Open the Gate (Feat. Morrie) (02:16)
3. Aoki Yutaka – 851 (02:03)
4. Aoki Yutaka – Waltz of the Bugs (02:54)
5. Aoki Yutaka – Fury (02:49)
6. Aoki Yutaka – Missing (05:46)
7. Aoki Yutaka – Witch Hunt (feat. Kaoru) (06:06)
8. Aoki Yutaka – Im Wald (01:00)
9. Aoki Yutaka – Ghosts in the Mist (04:56)
10. Aoki Yutaka – Gryphon / Burn the Tree (03:41)
11. Aoki Yutaka – Cave (02:29)
12. Aoki Yutaka – “B” (01:47)
13. Aoki Yutaka – Colling (Feat. Morrie) (01:07)
14. Aoki Yutaka – Shape of Death (Feat. Sugizo) (02:56)
Since the dawn of time, mankind has been almost obsessively drawn towards the inexplicable, obscure, paranormal, and supernatural. This is proven manifold in the lasting popularity of the horror genre – spanning many generations across all platforms and all art mediums. The new record by Aoki Yutaka (downy), Lost in Forest, is the spine-chilling and deeply unsettling score to a horror movie of your own imagination, coming soon to a mental cinema near you. If you dare listen to it, that is.
The album’s opening eleven minutes instantly barrage the listener with well-known horror-score tropes, combined with some rather surprising elements. Eerie spoken word passages over twisted circus music (“I am Lost”), dramatic, operatic vocals enhanced by choir samples (“Open the Gate”), lighter glitch electronics to temporarily soften the mood (“851”), the recurring circus motif (“Waltz of the Bugs”) and even a fuzzed-out shred guitar solo over acoustic guitars (“Fury”) are to be found within Lost in Forest’s first five tracks, effectively setting the stage and slowly advancing the ominous imaginary plot of the story taking place in your head.
“Witch Hunt” is a good example of the drone tendency of Yutaka’s work. There is constant smashing and creaking in the background over which a sinister, twisted melody is played. Chimes and a sawing noise come in later to augment the general feeling of unease and suspense that comes with this song. “Gryphon / Burn the Tree”, on the other hand, feels very nostalgic and reminds a lot of old game soundtracks, especially of the original Gameboy-era. In its charming, playful way, it’s a stark contrast to its predecessors, but we are reminded of the constant impalpable dread that follows in the wake of Lost in Forest when it veers off into darker territory at its end.
“Shape of Death”. Oh boy. What a perfectly fitting title for the album’s final song. Here, the music is at its most intimidating as the story reaches its final climax. The crystalline drones and sliding shrieks had me slumping into my chair, uneasy and somewhat intimidated. Most of the time, I wasn’t able to distinguish between actual instruments and samples; the richness in detail certainly didn’t help. At least Yutaka was smart enough to not end this album on a cheap jump scare, letting the music fade out into a vague, murky atmosphere instead. And now, the only remaining question is, how did the story end?
This album by Aoki Yutaka is unlike most I’ve heard in my life. Unbelievably evocative and disquieting at once, it doesn’t force a narrative onto the listener. Rather, it guides them to invent their own around the provided musical framework. Monsters, killers and ancient horrors could easily fit within the rich compositions; even flashbacks to happier times would be possible. The individual songs on Lost in Forest are impressively orchestrated and meticulously sculpted to make for a unique experience, sincerely urge you to have as well.