It's prime walking season in Portland as the days lengthen, temperatures rise (if slowly), and our city's iconic blooms begin to unfurl. On days when I have time to spare, I enjoy a long stroll through Richmond - a meandering commute from my home to school. I try to vary my route each time I am able, exploring hidden pockets to notice both the neighborhood's quirks and natural beauty. The best walks include many pauses to look up, look down, and to pet cats.
This unhurried, observational style of urban exploration is how I like to imagine Rhucle gathering inspiration for his work. The Tokyo-based sound artist just released his album, Cycle, last Friday through the ever-excellent Aural Canyon. On it, he blends synth waves with nature sounds, resulting in beautifully calming sonic collages. During the album's creation, Rhucle disclosed that his field recorder actually broke, so he was forced to download and use a simple smartphone app instead. This switch turned out to be more convenient in the end, as he could record interesting sounds whenever he encountered them, rather than trucking around extra equipment.
Who knows if my imagined scene of Rhucle capturing audio snippets is at all accurate, but one way our strolls definitely differ is that Cycle was recorded last autumn, opposite of spring entirely. Perhaps the changing leaves were his cherry blossoms. Interestingly, he recorded the album for a specific purpose, too, making it a utilitarian tool of sorts. Like all of us, Rhucle was searching for a way to relax during 2020, and made Cycle to help him do just that. He would put the album on repeat to calm himself down when he felt wound up, and suggests the listener try doing the same. On the album's Bandcamp page, Rhucle writes, "When you feel tired, soak in the cycle."
Below is favorite track, but I suggesting sitting with Cycle from start to finish. It can be found through this link, so give it a listen - especially if your soul is feeling tired as this pandemic hits a year.