Matter and energy, thoughts and ideas, the philosophical approach of the being or the existence.
The three marks of existence according to the Buddist teachings are impermanence (無常, mujō), suffering (苦, Ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空, kū). That’s all about the traditional Japanese aesthetics of wabi-sabi. An aesthetic that includes asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.
Talking about natural objects and processes, let’s also talk about the Floating World (Ukiyo-e). An artistic style of Japanese woodblock print and painting from the Edo period depicting famous theater actors, beautiful courtesans, city life, travel in romantic landscapes, and erotic scenes.
That’s the infrastructure behind the sophomore album of the mysterious Swedish artist Sven Wunder.
Musically the album draws from Min’yō (traditional Japanese music) fusing it with jazz-rock forms and funky grooves, reframing them with the aesthetic of wabi-sabi (just like the name of the album), to keep it grounded with nature and concentrate on asymmetries.
This time Wunder dives further in the East Asian and all the way to the South Asian tradition keeping the groove intact.
The folkloric sense evokes sounds of the bamboo-flute (”shakuhachi”), the guzheng, also known as the Chinese zither, and it is genuinely combined with western art instruments, like the concert flute, modern pop percussion, 20th-century electronic instruments such as the Moog synthesizer, Wurlitzer electric piano, and electric bass.
One of the things I love about Wunder’s compositions is the wild palette of his inspiration that shapes the final result.
Time and time again he has proved that he knows his game. Rino De Filippi, Victor Cavini, and Minoru Muraoka would be proud while the instant sold out of the first pressing by the music nerds around the world confirms his value.
Thankfully a second run added -that is probably out of stock by now (edit: actually there’s a chance getting a copy on Mr. Bongo)!
Because all that, Sven Wunder is a top-quality craftsman and Wabi Sabi stands next to previous years Doğu Çiçekleri (Eastern Flowers)!