2007 debut solo album by berlin-based guitarist and composer takeshi nishimoto.
monologue was recorded in a one-day session in a church in berlin, the natural acoustics providing a perfect ground for takeshi's compositions.
a couple of years ago the underground music world was rocked by the re-introduction of one of music's most obvious staples - the humble piano. suddenly we were greeted by artists recording the ivories and nothing else, letting us hear what this instrument sounded like when alone in a room, unaccompanied by studio over-production and needless gloss. the acoustic guitar is maybe not the most obvious of instruments for a renaissance, i mean it never really went away, but with the aptly titled 'monologue'
takeshi nishimoto has i think done exactly this. this album features justthe guitar, nothing else -
a microphone in a room and the sound of fingers on strings - with very little eliciting a sound as evocative as you could imagine. you might not have heard his name before but there's a good chance you've heard nishimoto's playing.
- most famously he is one half of post-rock duo i'm not a gun (along with john tejada)
but he has also managed to play alongside some of jazz guitar's greats during his time studying in california. being classically trained can often be a curse rather than a blessing, but within moments of 'monologue' you can hear this is a master at work; nishimoto has that touch that so many attempt and fail, it is effortlessly soft while at the same time furiously focused never drifting into the background or becoming 'light'. his jazz training is evident but this isn't a jazz record, rather nishimoto lets the melodies take centre-stage and just as we heard on goldmund's unforgettable 'corduroy road' they become lodged in your psyche, revealing more of themselves on each subsequent play. these melodies are steeped in a shy subtlety, unaffected by tricks or typical guitar bravado and it sounds odd to say it but i find it strange that you so rarely hear albums brave enough to be so honest with the instrument. one comparison i have to mention is to ry cooder's flawless soundtrack to wim wenders' 'paris texas', it's not necessarily that 'monologue' sounds particularly similar but the same sort of emotion is conveyed here and nishimoto excersises a similar restraint in his playing - i can almost imagine natasha kinski's pained interplay with harry dean stanton through that glass panel as i listen. this is stark and devastatingly beautiful music and without a doubt one of the finest albums of its kind, when you hear it you just have to stop whatever you're doing and give nishimoto your full attention, by being so honest with us he demands our absolute emotional involvement. utterly beautiful music...