For someone whose music seems to eternally persist in a state of nearly unmoving serenity, Chihei Hatakeyama never, ever (ever) stops.

Working from his own label, White Paddy Mountain, in his native Japan, which also releases music from H. Takahashi (who’s recently begun to enjoy acclaim in the West) among numerous other creatives, Hatakeyama makes near perfection look easy.

Since beginning his Void series in late 2013, initially as live installments, morphing into ambient recordings as seamless and ambitious as any of his best work, leading to this April’s Void XVI.

Somehow, despite a near constant pace, the man’s work never loses its sheen, each release as foggily gorgeous as the last. Illustrating this perfectly, just two days ago, he already followed XVI up with XVII.

This is a man whose debut was sought and released by the legendary Chicago label kranky, and yet, still so few know his name. Working in the outskirts of Tokyo, steadily and ceaselessly, Takahashi seems to like it that way just fine. Beginning in more rock-oriented bands, as a younger man, he increasingly felt himself drawn to his laptop and electronics, a true Eno acolyte.

As with the best ambient and drone, Void XVi is both inscrutable and immediate, meaning everything to the listener, yet leaving them at a loss to describe it.

To attempt it nonetheless, the music here very much fits its artwork: it’s not hard to imagine roaming a lost corner of Japan, a murky twilight encircling you. As an introduction to his work, Void XVI works as well as any in the series: only one thing is certain, you’ll feel an immediate need to absorb more.

Thankfully, each installment takes its own place. Feeling connected to the others, to be sure, but with its own impression, emotions, and feel. In contrast with, say, the nearly cheerful peace of the glowing Void X, Void XVI seems to possess a certain sense of melancholy, akin to a wistful, lonely walk, lost deep in memories of brighter days. A testament to Hatakeyama's strength and grace, the music found here can be both fixating, beautiful and yet painful. It's drone that truly seems to ache, and we ache with it, only to leave feeling just a little bit healed, readier to face the pressure of our seemingly endless days.

XVI proves as confident, and as purely gorgeous, as any of the relatively unsung master’s work thus far, a true gem, and one of the very best moments in the spindling world of drune music to uncover in 2018.