In science and the human heart

Hiroshi Ebina


Liam Murphy

November 26, 2023

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Eggshell melodies nestle within reassuring ambience, bolstered by a refined musical style on this release

Sometimes, in life, all we need is gentle reassurance. A reiteration of calming affirmations. A complex and intricate truth presented simply and elegantly. Softness is also preferential in the delivery of such affirmations. Rather than a sudden catharsis, the message must be delivered calmly to accentuate its poignance. “A message card to listeners” is what musician Hiroshi Ebina hopes to achieve with each track of In science and the human heart. One can see the messages being communicated from the track titles, but what the titles can’t present fully are the heartfelt, intricately-crafted assurances of calm and hope that make up the EP as a whole. 

Take You’ll be alright, the opening track of the EP. On its surface, we hear sporadic music box notes unravelling impulsively like a budding flower. Lighter flurries are tinged with more grounding notes as wisps of harmonies swirl gently in the background. This set up is simple enough, a pleasurable and emotive experience. But the track’s texture is very special, allowing for each and every note to crackle with a real beauty. This is owed to Ebina’s use of a NAGRA IV, a vintage reel-to-reel recorder. The use of this antiquated piece of equipment is a testament to the care and time the artist has taken to make these tracks have a divine elegance to them, rather than simply being reassuring ambient ventures.

There is notable poise throughout In science and the human heart, possibly owed to his experience as a gagaku musician, Japan’s longstanding court music. This can be heard in Ebina’s refined melodic movements. This past is already gone serves as an example of this. The bright melody emerges slowly but steadily from lower droning tones. Every note feels as though it has been deliberated on sufficiently, excitable strides into higher pitches or faster tempos are soothed by lower, more foundational notes. At times it feels as though we are witnessing a court musician playing parts usually backed up by a full ensemble, in a gracious and heartfelt solitude.

Forgive yourself is a track of particular note, as it is one of the only moments in which Hiroshi Ebina turns to a decidedly more solemn tone with his melodies. Though these are soothed by gentle breaths of comforting pads. Forgiveness of oneself, though positive and gratifying, has its melancholy moments. This duality is captured so perfectly. 

Presenting an experience that is both innately touching and complex in its texture and delivery, In science and the human heart strikes a chord with the listener’s soul. With twinkling music box notes seeming to reverberate deep from the most personal, vulnerable parts of one’s being, Hiroshi Ebina presents an opportunity at true personal reflection and, ultimately, a reassurance of life’s beauty.