I must confess to the use of the word ‘unique’ in describing several of the artists in this year’s Musical Advent. But, on reflection, I am relaxed about that. Benjamin Clementine? Alabaster DePlume? Svaneborg Kardyb? They all wear that cloak comfortably. However, if the Musical Advent auditors were to come-a-knocking and restrict my use of that adjective to but one occasion, I would apply it to Hatis Noit, for she is the quintessence of unique.
I first heard the voice/music of Hatis Noit early in 2018, when her debut EP, Illogical Dance, was released on that consistently brilliant label, Erased Tapes. Wow. This was a sound that quite literally stopped me in my tracks. Uncategorisable, it seemed to come from Gagaku (Japanese classical) and western opera fused with avant-garde and Gregorian chanting. The last influence is important.
We waited patiently for the album. And we waited. Finally, in June of this year, it arrived. Entitled Aura, it didn’t disappoint. It was utterly breathtaking, an album like no other. That word again…unique.
When you hear the voice of Hatis Noit you will wonder where it could possibly have come from. Let’s revisit the chanting. When she was only sixteen, she travelled from her native Japan to Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal. Let your mind drift to that magical, mysterious place, with its temples appearing through the mist. One morning whilst out walking, Hatis Noit heard someone singing. It was a female monk, singing Buddhist chants. She was moved so intensely that she immediately concluded that her calling was singing.
Aura is composed almost entirely of Hatis Noit’s vocal. She uses her voice as an instrument – many instruments – to create the most beautiful, mesmerising sound on Earth. Sometimes it shocks you with its power. The album’s eight tracks flow like the Shinano River, washing all over you.
We may have had to wait four years for it, but Aura was well worth waiting for.