Australian wabi sabi is too tender

A group that I’ve been getting into lately is The Motifs from Melbourne.  They’re currently at the tail-end of a European tour and I caught their stripped down set at this afternoon’s Hangover Lounge.

taken by acb

I feel there’s something quite wabi sabi about their sound – beautiful and gentle because of, and not in spite of, imperfections and the lack of polish.  The soft vocal harmonies, unpretentious instrumentation and classic melodies blend in a way that is almost too tender to bear and I found the set today all the more affecting in its minimalism.

While chatting with Alexis from the band, we found that we had both lived in the same part of Japan, practically neighbours on the Hankyu rail line in Osaka, although at different times.  Perhaps in some odd way this connection is why their music says wabi sabi to me; it’s something rather contemplative and melancholic but always beautiful, like a perfectly round stone or an old fence in a quiet alley.

You can listen to The Motifs on Myspace and Last.fm but it would be best to listen to them while cycling around Tsukaguchi and Nishinomiya on a bright autumn day, completely alone.

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