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Album Review: Kimono
Jason Farnham
Cover image of the album Kimono by Jason Farnham
Jason Farnham
2009 / Jason Farnham Music
50 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Kimono is Jason Farnham’s fourth release to date, and is quite different from his 2008 release, “Serene.” Inspired by an exhibit of oversized kimono landscapes by Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003) that Farnham viewed in January 2009, each of the ten pieces refers to and is titled for a specific kimono that depicts the seasonal transitions from fall to winter. Most of the music is heavily influenced by Japanese stylings and is performed on keyboards and synths. Some of the music is quite percussive and exciting, and other pieces are more ambient and cinematic. Rich sonic colors create a vibrant atmosphere that both soothes the mind and stimulates the imagination.

The CD opens with “Combustion,” a piece that suggests the brilliant colors of fall. Ethereal Japanese flutes and pulsating Taiko drums combine to suggest shades of vivid reds and golds. “Reflections Before Nightfall” goes into darker and deeper tones with sparkles here and there. The solid background sound suggests the peacefulness of a colorful sky just after sunset. “Emerald Moment of the Lake” shimmers like light dancing on calm water. A couple of minutes into the piece, more of a rock rhythm enters along with a strong beat on piano, creating an energetic yet peaceful mood. “Nostalgia” becomes darker and more mysterious - deep purples and blues with occasional splashes of silver. This piece is very ambient and atmospheric. “Late Autumn Melancholy” is one of two piano-based pieces, and what a beauty it is! The sound of a chilling wind and the lovely piano create an elegant and emotional portrait. “Obliteration” is very electronic with several percussive rhythms going at once without getting in each other’s way - very catchy! “Eddies” again sparkles like light on water, but in a different way from “Emerald Moment.” “Eddies” is more sparse and tranquil with a gentle flow and quiet ambience. “First Blush of Winter” begins with the animated sound of glass wind chimes and an atmospheric tone that crescendos into the foreground. A variety of sounds intermix with this tone to keep the colors constantly changing and moving - very serene and peaceful. “Empire of Snow” is also very ambient with a steady tone in the background and various musical sounds interspersed to keep the piece evolving and moving forward. It suggests vast open space with a definite chill. “Silver Purity” is the second piece that features piano and brings the album to a gentle, graceful conclusion.

Kimono clearly demonstrates that Jason Farnham is a very versatile and accomplished composer and musician. Kimono was officially released at the Canton Museum of Art in Ohio, and Farnham is Artist in Residence at that museum during the exhibit as well as KimonoFest. The CD is available from the museum, www.jasonfarnham.com, Amazon (download), iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
March 3, 2009
More reviews of Jason Farnham albums
Cover image of the album Serene by Jason Farnham