ARP & ANTHONY MOORE FRKWYS Vol.3 (RVNG International) lp 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. For the third in the series (or second, because we don't think there was actually a Vol. 1) of collaborations between new bands and their older progenitors, we get this beautiful collaboration between Arp (Alexis Georgopoulos of The Alps and Q&A, and formerly of Tussle) and Anthony Moore (Slapp Happy, Henry Cow). Inspired by Moore's early and little heard minimalist compositions from 1971's Pictures of a Cloudland Ballroom, rather than Moore's later art-rock leanings, the duo build upon old and new material, utilizing piano, cello, synth and tape manipulations into eight pieces of gorgeously placid minimalism. Two of the cello based tracks are dedicated to Robert Wyatt and Arthur Russell and you'll hear their influence as well as shades of Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Eroc, and Franco Battiato. The final song, "Slow Moon's Rose" is the only vocal track, sounding like a lovely lost Slapp Happy outtake sung by Georgopoulos instead of Dagmar Krause. A far cry from the last collaboration in this series between Excepter, Chris & Cosey and J. G. Thirlwell, but one with more depth, as it feels like a true collaboration between two mutually inspired artists rather than a couple of interesting remixes. Highly Recommended! And ultra limited!!
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"Slow Moon's Rose"
ART FLEURY I Luoghi Del Potere (Die-Schachtel) cd 27.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. There's thankfully more than a few labels whose reliable track record and special aesthetic makes us ALWAYS interested in what they're putting out. Several examples: EM Records, Hapna, Ektro, Holy Mountain, Paradigms, Lampse, and Andee's own tUMULt (of course). Also among those "likely essential" labels is Italy's Die Schachtel, an outfit that either digs up the most wonderful Italian experimental obscurities from the '70s or presents the most intriguing new underground bands from their country, always in super-snazzy packaging. Unfortunately, 'cause so much of their output is so great, it's tough for us to keep up with 'em all, but here at least is a review of our of their more recent gems, a cd reissue of an unusual 1980 record by what was a young Italian group called Art Fleury, who played shows with the likes of Area and Henry Cow and was right there on the cutting edge of politically and musically radical avant-prog, Rock In Opposition sound-making... This album of theirs, the title of which means "The Places Of Power", was apparently conceived as an imaginary soundtrack of sorts, and it's indeed quite soundtracky, you could imagine this being the score to a very arty, serious and suspenseful Italian film. It's a sonic collage that effectively deploys skittering percussion and tape-splicing studio fuckery, instrumental prog bombast and jazz improv freedom, the proceedings often infused with moody textures of glitch and crackle, visited by musical cues or voices set amidst radio static, as if sampled from a random spin of the dial. This is very much in keeping with the sounds of modern-day Die Schachtel acts like A and Christa Pfangen, and their colleagues 3/4hadbeeneliminated. We're also reminded of AQ faves Village Of Savoonga, and to several of Art Fleury's contemporaries or near-contemporaries like Faust, This Heat, and Nurse With Wound. You probably get the idea: recommended! This cd comes packaged in a oversized cardboard box, inclosing a booklet with liner notes along with a poster of the album's black & white cover graphic of a clenched fist. By the way, while six tracks are listed, there's only five actually indexed on the cd, implying that two are run together... thus we might not have gotten the titles of our sound clips right (i.e "e=mc2" might be "La Morte Al Lavoro" actually).
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"Uno Spettro Si Aggira Per"
ART LESSING The Plastic Couch (self-released) cd-r 9.98
Bay Area sound artist Art Lessing is one prolific d.i.y. fellow. Each year without fail he releases at least one cd-r of his living room recorded aural creations, and we've got his latest one. His musical roamings know no boundaries freewheelin' from neo-folk rambles ("Plastic Couch") to buzzy space rock ("Badly") to hazy contemplative minimal guitar resonance ("Tinkle Star") to Ween-ish pitch-shifted fuckery ("Moe The Slow"). Likewise, his battery of instruments includes many unconventional homemade implements. Ooooeeee, this is a strange one and it draws customer queries each time it's played in the store.
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"Moe The Slow"
ART OF PRIMITIVE SOUND Musical Instruments From Prehistory The Paleolithic (Hic Sunt Leones) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Conceptually, this record seemed destined to be right up AQ's alley. The next Conet Project?! Maybe not...Recordings made in natural environments, using only pre-historic instruments; magnolia leaf rattles, ribbon reeds, slate slabs, bamboo stalks, branches, swan feather quill, egyptian sugar cane, oak sticks, sea urchin rattles, cow horns, porcupine quills, dried pomegranates and stalactites(!). The sound is occasionally beautiful and dark, reminiscent of No Neck Blues Band and other stumbling drum circle folk, but unfortunately veers dangerously close to straight up new age. Not as fantastic as we had hoped, but still definitely worth checking out.
ART ZOYD u.B.I.Q.U.e (Inpossible) cd 15.98
Brand new disc from this long-running Belgian art-rock orchestra. Just as creepy as any of their early '80s chamber rock classics, "u.B.I.Q.U.e" is a "symphonic poem" for guitars, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, tuba, drums, and samplers. The samplers bring in an 'industrial' vibe that synchs up with the album's inspiration, the works of cult sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick.
ARTEFACTUM Sub Rosa (Drone Records) 7" 9.98
Hailing from Poland, Artefactum is a project self-described as 'female esoterica' by the sole member, Merissa d'Erlette. Throughout her handful of releases, she's wrapped her dark ambience and occasional neo-classical sounds in the traditions of alchemy and hermeticism, pushing toward the more baroque ends of the Cold Meat Industry catalogue. Here, Artefactum offers a suitably mysterious set of recordings for the much-lauded Drone Records series of singles. Wordless vocals haunt the halls of these two recordings, as they form dark shadows that flicker alongside ghostly fragments of orchestral samples and bowed metallic drones. Rhythms from hand drums pulse in time with dark rumblings on one of the two tracks, creating a murky, moody atmosphere worthy of being the music of a secret society ritual of your choice. Limited to 300 copies with decoupage artwork and sewn shut with a pink ribbon.
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ARTIFICIAL MEMORY TRACE Evaporation (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon) cd-r 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Easily the most high concept Celebrate Psi Phenomenon release so far, Evaporation is one 47 minute track, assembled from numerous 'sound paintings' based on the concept of, obviously, evaporation. But evaporation in all facets of the world and our lives, the change from one state to another, changes in thought and behavior, everything. All contructed and recorded by Danish composer / sound artist Slavek Kwi, Evaporation is a subtle sonic world constructed from microscopic sound events, as well as everyday sonic intrusions, wind and conversation and clinking silverware and splashing water, but all subsumed into the whole, a vast expanse of gurgling electronics, crystalline shimmers, muter blips and bleeps, rumbling reverberations, ringing overtones, and all manner of miniature sound, interrupted halfway through, but only briefly, by a thnderstorm of rainlike sound, which quickly recedes as the piece resumes its barely there sonic metamorphosis. Definitely requires close and active listening, but for the listener who IS willing to lean in close and explore Artificial Memory Trace's slowly evaporating world, the reward is quite delicate and subtly beautiful. SUPER LIMITED AS ALWAYS!! NOT SURE WE'LL BE ABLE TO GET MORE WHEN THESE ARE GONE!
ARTIST 02 Album Title (Label) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A while back we reviewed a compilation of early REDACTED experimental music called REDACTED, that documented the lively scene there in the sixties and seventies, from playful goofy sound manipulation, to austere soundscapes, hand built instruments, vocal experimentations, freaked out avant rock and more. A pretty amazing document, that unfortunately seems to be unavailable lately. Not long after we reviewed it, a REDACTED label contacted us with an entire album from one of the artists on the comp, by the name of ARTIST 02. To be totally honest, at the time we couldn't remember who was who and which tracks were ARTIST 02's, since by that time the comp had been gone for a while, but we figured that folks loved that comp so much that a whole record by ARTIST 02, regardless of which tracks were theirs would be amazing. So we got the discs in and they looked amazing, gorgeous eight panel silkscreened sleeve, with totally confusing but eminently readable liner notes from REDACTED, and two front covers depending on which way you held it, since it compiled two different sets of pieces. We decided to listen to REDACTED first, two pieces, one from 1962, one from 1968. The first track begins with ARTIST 02 repeating a single word over and over. And over. And over. Well, weird. Skip to the end of the first track, still repeating that same word, over and over and over. Okay, we'll go to the second track. Hmmm. Same word. Over and over. Obviously being 'performed' live as you can hear throat clearing and seat shifting and foot shuffling. Wow. 13 minutes of the same word, repeated over and over in a deadpan monotone. Slowly shifting in pitch and inflection, but very, um. similar. But stick with us, after those tracks, which have now grown on us quite a bit, this becomes a super cool, super weird, and totally primitive turntablist / plunderphonic / mashup record. The majority of REDACTED, the pieces that make up the second half of the disc, is manipulated vinyl lps, 78's, 7"s, all tweaked and affected and fucked with. A series of smokey jazz records are slowed way down, pitch shifted up and down, up and down, warbling and wobbling, woozy and dizzyingly soothing, like listening to old jazz 78's through a funhouse mirror, melodies stumble clumsily into each other and pile one on top of another, jostling to return to some normal speed, some semblance of regular jazz, but continue to weave drunkenly, seasick and sleepy, drunken and druggy. Not all that different than stuff we've heard Kid Koala and other modern turntablists do which is pretty amazing. Then: a looped snippet of piano and a weary vocal singing "I'm Alabama bound" over and over, a seemingly endless loop, until the words stop making any sense and become nothing but strange melodic concepts, and then the voice riffs its way out of the loop, the effect similar to when a massive drone finally ends, there's that moment where the tension is finally relieved. Later: a record of thirties boogie woogie is scratched and skipped and looped and becomes a skittering, hypnotic, jumble of female vocals and jaunty horns, all sort of bouncing and hiccuping and skipping, creating strange rhythms and melodic fragments. Probably the most compelling and amazing piece is "REDACTED", where multiple versions of "I've Got You Under My Skin" are played simultaneously, piled atop one another, seemingly at random, performed at different tempos, in different keys, sounding a bit like a random round, until all of the singers sing the word 'reality' at the same moment, and which point the song starts to loop and repeat and blur, becoming a confusing collage of multiple 'reality's. Literally.
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ARTIST 04 Album Title (Label) cd-r 15.98
Latest release from REDACTED's REDACTED, this one from the mysterious ARTIST 04, which when you realize that ARTIST 04 is in fact REDACTED himself, doesn't seem so mysterious after all. (But now it is!!) REDACTED, who previously performed as REDACTED, still performs as REDACTED, used to run the REDACTED label, and who also plays in REDACTED, seems to have returned to his ARTIST 04 moniker to create something a bit more minimal and dark. Far removed from the collaged and looped heaviness of REDACTED, the doomy blackened crush of REDACTED and the blissed out cacophony of REDACTED, ARTIST 04 here occupies a space much more abstract, and when we said minimal and dark, we meant WAY minimal and WAY dark. The record starts out so hushed we had to crank the volume to be sure anything was going on, but once we did, we were quickly enveloped in a dark swirling low end fog, a rumbling whirring creep, that almost sounds like an even more abstract minimal Bohren. Around this amorphous bassy drift, float random sounds, breaths, footsteps, all manner of ambient noise, but be prepared at about 8 minutes, if you have the volume cranked, you're gonna want to dial it back quick, before your speakers blow and the vibrations send everything crashing to the floor. A thick swath of rib cage rattling bass, warm and thick and loud, but loud in the way only extreme low end can be, felt more than heard, and so it goes, all manner of tones and drones, layered and intertwined, unleashing more low end overtones. It's at about 21 minutes in, when all that low end is joined by a strange soft cacophony of chiming tones and mysterious textural scrapes, those sounds too are soon blurred and smeared into another layer of deep dark shimmer, the final 8 or 9 minutes find the low end receding, leaving a strange collage of percussion and fragmented melody, skitters and scrapes, creaks and chimes, all slowing down and slowly fading out. Wow. not at all what we expected, but we like it, A LOT. Reminds us of Thomas Koner or Organum, in fact ARTIST 04 seems to fall right in between the two, a mix of bowed metal and clatter and clang, and deep subterranean resonance. Super dark and gorgeous and hauntingly hypnotic and... EXTREMELY LIMITED. We got about half of the extremely small pressing, and if past REDACTED releases are any indicator, these will no doubt disappear quick, and it's unclear whether we'll be able to get any more or not...
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ARTIST 05 Album Title (Label) lp 17.98
Lots of radiophonic blorp, orbital bleep, and weird science are to be found on ARTIST 05's solo lp REDACTED. ARTIST 05 ranks amongst the more prolific members of the REDACTED experimental scene, starting out in the heavy-drone trio REDACTED and moving onto the Vangelis-esque progressive electronic outfit REDACTED and the spasmodic DIY electronics of the REDACTED. REDACTED follows the retro-clad affairs of REDACTED, but his modular synths are dialed into a more cerebral, more academic approach to electronic music, with swarms of spiralling oscillations firing at every conceivable trajectory. ARTIST 05 gives the impression that he's set all of his careening, spiralling sounds in motion and allows them to crash into each other with regularity, as if they were all toy robots and remote control cars banging together. The violence of this atonal, electronic cacophony is all comedy, recalling the most playful explorations of Conrad Schnitzler in the '80s and the most angular / obtuse productions of Oneohtrix Point Never.
ARTIST 06 Album Title (Label) lp 16.98
A stellar follow-up to 2010's REDACTED on REDACTED, REDACTED from this local REDACTED drone duo, REDACTED and REDACTED, aka ARTIST 06, finds theses two with an even more focused and nuanced dynamic sensibility. Of course that sensibility centers around REDACTED's classically trained koto playing, which plays a large part in ARTIST 06's overall sound, but here that element is really given ample room to stretch out and breathe. Instead of being merely one component in a layering process of cascading shifting dronescapes, the high relief sound of the texture of strings, the slow growing lyrical motifs and the solemn resonant pauses between phrases set up the pieces as they bloom into delicate shimmers and then oceanic swells of drifting unsettled moods. Pushing the momentum along on the first track, "REDACTED" is the loping bass pulse of REDACTED (REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED), that has us surfing waves of sound before settling into a swirling miasma of crystalline tones and airy phases. Taking us to the final track, "REDACTED", the longest track at 20 minutes is set up by a long introduction of gorgeous and breathtakingly spacious koto playing that like falling leaves in gusts of winds unfurl into bellows of sky high cloud drones, gathering and darkening in fields of rich pulsating grey thunderous tones and then watercolor washes of blissful ambiance, the storm cleared and fading away, set to awaken in some far-off place. Beautiful!
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ARTIST 07 Album Title (Label) cd 10.00
Is there no end to the wonderful musical mysteries REDACTED has to offer? We sure hope not. Whether it's demented black metal, crushing doom sludge, freaky forest folk, or shimmery pop, REDACTED never disappoints. And now you can add, ultra minimal outsider solo guitar to that list. ARTIST 07, who we know absolutely nothing about, and Google searches also reveal practically nothing, other than the fact that he is REDACTED years old, is less of a "guitarist" and more of a guitar explorer, a guitar experimentalist. Falling somewhere between the abstract scrabble of Derek Bailey and the moody minimalism of Loren Connors, ARTIST 07 crawls all over the guitar, spending as much time thumping the body, scraping the bridge, and coaxing all manner of buzz and rattle from his guitar as he does either picking or strumming. The opening track is a strange percussive soundscape, punctuated by an awesome deep reverberant buzz drenched throb, as well as some fragmented chunks of slide. While all around these almost-melodies, lurk tons of black space, and all manner or subtle shuffle and accidental squeaks and creaks. Later on, some deliberately stumbling strum becomes a harmonic drenched melody, lurching and stuttering along a very abstract path. Elsewhere the guitar is rubbed to create strange whispery ambience, notes are hurled violently from the guitar, left to flutter to the ground, where they are sprinkled with glistening flurries of harmonics. Lots of angularity and atonality, but their are bits of delicate beauty tucked amidst the twisted and convoluted guitarscapes. A strange strange record. Not beautiful in any sort of typical way, but damaged and difficult and in that musical obstinance, quite lovely indeed. Fans of Bailey, Connors, Taku Sugimoto, Fabrice Eglin and of course Keith Rowe as well as other atypical six stringers will find much to explore and enjoy...
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ARTIST 08 Album Title (Label) 2cd 11.98
Sprawling double disc of self described 'other planetary field drone' from this mysterious REDACTED duo featuring members of doomsludge heavies REDACTED, avant noisemakers REDACTED, and grey metallers REDACTED, one disc of collected tracks, the other disc a 'collaborative' collage put together by ARTIST 08, and made up entirely of an unreleased collaboration between the now defunct REDACTED and the also now defunct REDACTED, but more on that in a second. The collected tracks disc, gathers up various jams from the last few years, all of them hushed and minimal and mysterious, strange dronescapes of abstract ambience and microscopic events, field recordings and performances, long stretches of creak and whir and thrum and rumble, laced with mysterious voices, fragments of melodies, a sound somewhere between the free forest clatter of Avarus, the ritualistic black abstraction of Abruptum and the free sonic exploration of A Handful Of Dust. Long streaks of feedback, overloaded mics, monstrous howls, low end crumble, whirring layers of glitch and hum, washed out hazy shimmer laid over murky sonar mumbles and muted clatter and clank, doomy crumbling rhythms pulled apart into sprawling industrial blurs, all smeared into creepy hushed black ambient drifts, and groaning, creaking, whispery abstract free noise minimalism. The second disc, finds ARTIST 08 assembling somewhat similar sounds, but using only a recording of REDACTED and REDACTED from 2006 as source material, and according to the liner notes: "pots, pipes, a clay skull and a wooden tube". And it sort of sounds like it. Sort of. Ultra minimal, abstract and ambient, stretches of what sound like alien field recordings give way huge heaving swells of crumbling buzz, squalls of roiling blacknoize splinter into full on drum freakouts and blurred drone jams, deep cavernous rumbles explode into jagged shards of hissing static and beastly vocal mewling, gorgeous blown out swells of chordal whir dissipate into chiming metal-buzz minimalism, these lengthy bursts of sonic energy, which actually don't sound all that messed with, more like they're just straight up recordings of those two bands rocking out, but those blowouts are all separated by short interludes of barely there shimmer and hazy muted drift. Killer stuff. On bad ass REDACTED label REDACTED, and most likely crazy limited...
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ARTIST 14 Album Title (Label) lp 13.98
We've mentioned it before, but we love it when people we know make amazing records, and we're then available to share them with all of you. Such is the case with this, the oddly monikered ARTIST 14, the project of aQ customer/pal REDACTED, who hails from REDACTED, and who is solely responsible for the gorgeous sounds to be found on REDACTED, a collection of abstract ambience, deep drones, and experimental rhythmic minimalism. Beginning with the brief minute long intro "REDACTED", a smoldering bit of crumbling distorted piano, and shimmering overtone rich drift, ARTIST 14 reveals itself as something more raw and immediate than much of the ambient/drone/electronic music we hear. It's super well crafted, and lush and lovely, but it's still raw, and rough around the edges, which makes the sounds more warm, the vibe more human and organic, instead of sounds, these feel like songs, long tones shimmer and undulate, melodies seem to slowly evaporate into a haze of high end whir, scattered throughout are fragmented rhythms, dubby and abstract, disembodied pulses and ghostly beats, a sort of electrokrautrock that seems to be gradually coming apart, like some old space station left in orbit, the various pieces drifting off into the ether, some into the heart of the sun, some into the cold black void, here liquid squelches demarcate loose swirling melodic tangles, and thick swells of feedback wreathed buzz, acoustic guitars let loose spare notes, that flutter like leaves falling from trees, or mysterious detritus floating through space. In a few places, the sounds go haywire, explosive bursts of almost jungle like rhythms, or exploding firecrackers woven into frantic beats, but even then the sounds surrounding these blasts are warm and whirling and sweetly soothing, while elsewhere, the sounds slip into dubby Portishead like low slung downtempo grooves, culminating in the 14+ minute epic "REDACTED", a constantly shifting soundscape that plays out like a soundtrack to some mysterious art film, swirling electronics, lush textures, fractured effects, pulsing synths, the sound seeming to shift ever minute or two, finishing off with a stretch of grinding downtuned lo-fi dirgery, which leads directly into the closing number, a fantastically blissed out sprawl of super distorted melodies, all hazy and spacey and dreamlike, but wrapped in crunchy buzz and hissy static, which eventually slips away, leaving lush lustrous sonic swells, lovely hushed computer vox and what sounds like field recording, all woven into a softly undulating bit of dreamlike drift. Fantastic stuff. Highly recommended.
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AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE #1 magazine 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The editorial statement in this inaugural edition of As Loud As Possible claims to want "to solve a problem: to offer a contrast to the fumbling coverable of noise and experimental music found in most glossy music magazines... To them, all Merzbow records sounds more of less the same, and... they can hear no differentiation between a Merzbow, a John Wiese, a Macronympha, or a Sudden Infant." Editors Chris Sienko and Steve Underwood have collected 160 attractive pages of insightful, compelling, and sometimes incendiary thoughts in search of the mutable definition of Noise Culture. Probably the main attraction here is the duo's massive undertaking of delving into the history of the seminal Broken Flag label, investigating ALL of their releases, attempting to contact ALL of the artists involved. 40 pages later, and you'll be needing to track down the Vinyl On Demand box of the best that Broken Flag released! There's some great interviews with Rudolf Eb.Er of Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock / Schimpfluch infamy, No Fun bossman Carlos Giffoni, and Ides Recordings' Nicole Chambers. While there's tons of reviews in this issue of As Loud As Possible, Sienko and Underwood seek out direct communication with the artists involved to get their own take on Noise. A massive and highly commendable undertaking, for sure; one that makes for an exceptional read!
ASAHARA, MASAYO Saint Agnes Fountain (Audiolaceration) cd 16.98
The back-story on this is a good one, so let's start with that: We heard about this from a friend of ours (who shall remain nameless). So Loren came in and asked us one day if we could get an obscure album by some '70s Japanese experimental composer named Masayo Asahara. Apparently it was recently reissued on cd by a label in England... and was said to sound like Terry Riley meets Magma meets Soft Machine or something! Well THAT sure sounded interesting. So we looked it up online. Sure enough, Masayo Asahara's rare 1974 LP Saint Agnes Fountain was now available on cd. Here's what the label's website had to say about it: "A forgotten drone-prog-jazz classic from the 1970s Japanese underground...St Agnes Fountain was composed while Masayo Asahara was completing her masters degree at the University of Osaka in 1974. Asahara's doctorate concerned the music of the early American minimalists, especially LaMonte Young and Tony Conrad, and her composition reflects her involvement not only in that music, but also with the thriving Osaka free jazz scene from whose ranks this one-off band was put together specifically for this recording. Asahara also cites Faust, Soft Machine, and the Rolling Stones as influencing her work during this period. The rather curious title and artwork come via Asahara's parallel studies of mediaeval European history and pagan imagery in Protestant hymnal writing." Wow! We had to order that! Wish we could hear if first though...hmm...maybe there's a sound sample here...click here for more info it says...ok...wait, what's this?! We read: "St Agnes Fountain was composed by Martin Archer and UTT/Foster, and was recorded at Yellowarch Studio, Sheffield during 2002. This music is different from Martin's core music, and we have created Masayo in the hope of bringing a different audience into our music journey." Huh?! Turns out the whole thing is a cruel hoax! Albeit not a very deceptive one, if you did a little research. But hadn't our friend said that he'd heard of this supposed composer Masayo Asahara before? He had -- when he visited experimental/jazz musician Martin Archer in England! So, there's no such person as Masayo Asahara at all, she's merely the alter-ego Martin Archer. Apparently he only wanted to fool some of the people some of the time, in aid of making a fantasy LP come true. So, disappointed but still intrigued, we got Martin to send us a copy, thinking, it had better be good! And...it IS good! Really good. Dunno if we would have been fooled had he not revealed the truth, it certainly sounds inspired by all the stuff cited above, though the recording itself is perhaps not authentically '70s-sounding. And what we really think this sound like, is Gas gone prog. The disc begins with the track "Begin" -- twelve minutes of heavily filtered electric organ chording, endlessly building, eventually morphing into the 17+ minute "Continue"! Further into the disc, new themes and instrumentation are introduced, but the basic hypnotic concept progagates. It's a very satisfying trip, the kind of thing that you don't really realize is playing for as long as it is. It really sounds like the pulsing electronics of Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project combined with the minimalist jazz-drone of Australia's The Necks (two big AQ faves you'll note), with some detours into psych-fusion freakouts, via Hammond organ and what Martin Archer and his co-conspirators consider their tribute to "Magma's horn section". If this really WAS a long-lost Japanese LP from '74 we'd be losing our minds over it...so why not anyway? Martin Archer's fantasy has resulted in a quite fantastic musical reality on this here disc.
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"Third Tempo Plus Organ Solo"
ASANO, KOJI A Second Dam (Solstice) cd 14.98
Wow, what with a new Koji Asano release coming out every month (literally!) it's a bit hard for us to always come up with something original to say. If you search for "Asano" on our website you'll find a ton of reviews of his past releases, many of them AQ-faves, which should give you a fairly good picture of this eclectic experimentalist and his works. Briefly though, Asano is a young Japanese sound-artist who puts very few limits on his creativity -- or the frequency of his output. In general, he miraculously manages to do pretty well on both sides of the quality/quantity equation! This new title, though, might really be one for hardcore Koji Asano fans only, as it consists of over an hour of varying tones of the sort discomforting to both dog and man alike. Did I say "frequency of his output"? Yep, no limits there: this is a painful program of high pitched whines that perhaps can be considered Asano's tribute to Iannis Xenakis' equally earhole abusing "La Legend d'Eer". Brutal, but if you're tough enough you'll find the beauty in it.
"A Second Dam (excerpt)"
ASANO, KOJI A Secret Path Of Rain (Solstice) cd 14.98
Two 20+ minute tracks of solo computer noise music from the prolific 26 year-old Japanese composer Koji Asano (now based in Barcelona). Although a computer is involved, this ain't glitchy laptop techno! This material isn't that far removed from the electroacoustic drone/static of his excellent previous album "Momentum". Lovely cover photo by Asano as usual, not indicative of the difficult sounds inside. Asano says: "At this stage, powerful but sensitive music constructed by strong high frequencies and the space. Sometimes sounds are like small steps of insects or huge movements of the ground."
ASANO, KOJI Absurd Summer (Solstice) cd 13.98
ASANO, KOJI Autumn Meadow (Solstice) cd 14.98
By now most readers of the AQ New Arrivals list should be familiar with the work of Koji Asano, the uber-prolific Barcelona-based Japanese experimental composer who has long been a big favorite here at Aquarius. We didn't have to wait long for this, the 21st-or-so release by Koji on his own label Solstice, and it's another of his more abstract/ambient electro-acoustic pieces (his varied ouevre also includes guitar improv, piano meditations, computer noise, chamber music, etc.). "Autumn Meadow" is a long (68 minute) single track of whistling, droning feedback-derived (?) hiss. We're not entirely joking when we say it kinda sounds like Koji recorded and processed the sounds made by his hot water radiator -- though it quickly grows louder and scarier than that -- maybe a poltergeist-possessed radiator? But whatever the source, appreciators of lengthy, creepy, distorted drone-works will find this to be a satisfying listen.
"Autumn Meadow (excerpt)"
ASANO, KOJI Avalanches (Solstice) cd 14.98
"Even Jim O'Rourke would be left gasping at the depth and range of his output"--that's what the Wire magazine says about 25-year old Tokyo composer/multi-instrumentalist Koji Asano, and here are three new cds to prove it. Sunshine and Avalanches both explore noisy electronic realms with extreme frequencies both high and low, and some strange analog rhythmic 'beats' in places. Monsoon, meanwhile, is quite different: a truly gorgeous piano-improv session, very good falling-asleep at night trance music. We also have the rest of the very prolific Asano's hard-to-find back catalog in stock, including his insane guitar/drums/keyboards trio record Gravity which somehow combines metal, surf music, and improv skree. Other highlights are "Solstice" (electronics/noise/ping pong game sounds...), "You Can't Open The Door Because It's Already Open" (beautiful, far-away sounding piano bliss), "Pheromone" (guitar/noise/weirdness), "Vacant Land" (crinkly noise soundscapes), "Caffeine" (another guitar-oriented fave, some really beautiful stuff on here)...and a couple other fine discs. Check out his website for more details.
ASANO, KOJI Caffeine (Solstice) cd 14.98
Koji's second album, with a different cover from its original release on his pre-Solstice label RAB. Lots of his rarely-heard these days avant-guitar playing on this one.
ASANO, KOJI Celeste (Solstice) cd 14.98
Piano on this early one.
ASANO, KOJI Crevasses (Solstice) cd 14.98
Disc number 25 (!) from one of our favorite Japanese experimental composers, the ever prolific Koji Asano. With his album-a-month schedule, we've been worried about quality control, but he rarely disappoints, although it's been tough for us to keep up -- we're still digesting his lovely four volume "The Last Shade of Evening Falls" drone-work. But for those of you ready for another dose of Koji, here's "Crevasses", a disc on which Koji generates (using a computer? we're not sure) over seventy minutes of intense, subtly-shifting, multi-tracked, various-pitched drone. It's not 'Japanese noise' in its harshest sense, but it's not about beats and melodies either. Rather, you get abstract bell-like electronics, buried bass burbling, extended sonar bleeps and strangely soothing siren sounds. Students of such 'dronology' should investigate! "Crevasses" is never *too* shrill, but there is more treble than bass in this example of alien, not-so-ambient electronics. As the disc develops, it gets dirtier and denser, and the 'buzz' factor builds until it's eventually like you've stuck your head into some sort of spaceship slash wasp's nest. After 73 minutes, you'd think you'd be ready for some silence, but the album's abrupt end just leaves you wanting more.
ASANO, KOJI Final Insurance: Collection Vol. 2, 1992-1994 (Solstice) cd 5.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. **SALE **SALE* *SALE** **LAST COPIES**Koji's thirty eighth career disc, Final Insurance, isn't actually a brand new recording, it is (as the full title suggests) a collection of previously unreleased tracks from the period directly prior the release of Asano's first actual album, Solstice, in 1995. Wow, that was a while ago now, but I remember when we first got that disc -- who would have guessed that ten years later we'd have reviewed dozens more cds by him? There's twelve tracks here, varied in approach from squeaky, sci-fi electronic noise (a la Ryoji Ikeda) to gentle field recordings (kinda like something Toshiya Tsunoda might do). There's improvs on guitar and piano as well... everything here is interesting, some of it harsh, some of it beautiful. He carefully selected these tracks from a vast amount of material recorded in this youthful period of sonic activity and discovery, and it's all good stuff that deserves to be heard!
"Lettuce No. 2" MPEG Stream:
ASANO, KOJI Flow-Augment (Solstice) cd 14.98
Japanese experimental music wunderkind Koji Asano has already produced a slew of fine albums that range in focus from guitar noise-rock to meditative piano improvisation to electronic soundscapes... Now, with this release, he ventures into the realm of modern classical, with three long tracks of melancholy and unsettling yet not-unmelodic music for strings, performed by the Koji Asano Ensemble (piano, cello, viola, violin, and contrabass). Koji Asano is perhaps Japan's answer to the United States' own prolific and multitalented new music prodigy Jim O'Rourke (and Asano has yet to release any dubious "pop" music). Recommended.
ASANO, KOJI Fret (Solstice) cd 14.98
Another eclectic early recording from our fave Japanese composer living in Spain.
ASANO, KOJI Gondola Odyssey (Solstice) cd 14.98
ASANO, KOJI Gravity (Solstice) cd 14.98
One of Koji's first releases, with his group Gravity: an instrumental, guitar-keys-drums avant-rock band! Hard to describe, improv-meets-surf-meets-metal-meets-prog music, quite different from much of his vast catalog, but nonetheless one of Allan's faves.
ASANO, KOJI January Rainbow (Solstice) cd 14.98
Koji Asano, the AQ-beloved Barcelona-based Japanese sound artist, is back at last with a new cd (the twenty-seventh release on his own label Solstice). This new one, "January Rainbow", consists of a 64 minute long track that successfully combines two of our favorite Koji Asano compositional styles: his abstract but lovely piano improv, and electro-acoustic noise-drone! Asano's flowing piano explorations of almost romantic, fractured melodies are heard through a more-than-ambient fluctuating field of thick static, hum, and crackle. If you play this at a low volume, it's like listening to a mellow and pretty avantgarde piano recital over a messed-up shortwave radio signal. But turn it up, and the physical presence of the rumbling electronic noise really takes over! Your choice, both are nice. Those familar with Koji's back catalog need only imagine a DJ mix of his solo piano discs "You Can't Open The Door Because It's Already Open" or "Monsoon" (which already had their a background-ambient-noise element to 'em) with one of his noise-drone oriented discs like "Momentum" or "The Last Shade of Evening Falls". A truly mesmerizing, beautiful balance of melody and drone is the result. So, not only are we glad to hear from Koji again, but we think this is one of our favorite entries in his vast catalog so far!
"January Rainbow (excerpt)"
ASANO, KOJI Momentum (Solstice) cd 14.98
Here's another great release from one of our favorite sound artists, Japanese twenty-something Koji Asano, a fellow who really ought to be on the cover of The Wire sometime, in a just world. He is more deserving of that sort of coverage than, say, last issue's cover star Pole. Not that we don't like Pole, but c'mon, that guy has made more-or-less the same record three times in a row, and his work is not based on that original of an idea in the first place. However, Koji Asano has produced over a dozen creative albums, all of them excellent and inventive, in a variety of experimental subgenres, from piano-ambient to electro-noise to skronky guitar rock... but no hip hype for him. Anyway, this newest effort from Asano deviates from his recent discs of piano improvisations and chamber music compositions with a collection of recordings that we've been told have been "created by two loudspeaker's woofers and the air pressure from the movement of them. Two microphones put inside of the speakers and directly touched on the woofers to make a sound of moving. Those movements were amplified again and again by controlling the mixer and changing the position of microphones." The result is a wash of crunchy, squealing and pulsing drones not all that far from some of Maurizio Bianchi's early power electronics, but without any of the doom 'n' gloom industrial-horror imagery. To go into more detail: the first of the three unamed tracks, is 10 and a half minutes based on a rhythmic helicoptering sound, a clipping rotor-like "whack whack whack" that modulates in tone, tempo, and volume over the length of the track. Also occuring is additional, carefully sculpted feedback noise. Very nice, really, sounding somewhat like a more "live air", electro-acoustic version of the sort of "clicks & cuts" music made by the likes of Noto, but more driving and organic and less sterile. The second, much longer (42'33") track has bursts of scratchy electronic hum forming interwoven patterns of drone. Static never sounded so good. Eventually the "feedback" comes to the fore, rather like some impossibly precise, persistent, obsessive, repetitive guitar / amplifier battle session. Piercing sounds mix with deeper, hesitant drone-segments, eventually mutating into insect realms of buzzing whine. That segues into the final track, seventeen minutes that morph the insect-like sounds into something resembling some solo saxophone free improv I've heard, rather quiet and sparse, but with a bit of lawnmower-sounding blurt as well. The whole disc is always changing, always alive, and thus full of interest for the adventurous listener. Check out Koji's website at http://personal4.iddeo.es/koji for more info and sound samples of his stuff, most of which we have available at Aquarius.
ASANO, KOJI Monsoon (Solstice) cd 14.98
See "Avalanches" for info.
ASANO, KOJI Octopus Balloons (Solstice) cd 14.98
Koji's back (again)! The very prolific Barcelona-based Japanese composer -- who just returned from the Instal 2002 festival in Glasgow, where he appeared alongside the likes of Mirror, Ryoji Ikeda, Alva.Noto and Phill Niblock -- follows up his recent, wonderful "January Rainbow" release with this new disc (#28!) of experimental electronics. No pretty piano this time, rather you get a dreamlike, if ominous, background hum out of which glitchy bursts of chirping, grinding electronic noise emerge. These interruptions build in intensity and density, first establishing some kind of abstract rhythm, then coalescing into a loud, layered, rumbling drone. Eventually Koji brings the piece back into a zone of bleep-punctuated silence. These could be the voices in the head of an unstable antagonist in an imaginary techno-psycho-horror film...to our ears, quite nice! If you like the, shall we say "abrasively listenable" side of Koji's eclectic sound explorations, the stuff that aligns him with Merzbow and Aube, "Octopus Balloons" should interest you indeed. And as with all of Koji's recent releases on his label Solstice, this disc comes packaged in a slim cardboard sleeve, featuring another of Koji's beautiful urban landscape photos on the cover.
"Octopus Balloons (excerpt)"
ASANO, KOJI Pheromone (Solstice) cd 14.98
Little-known but highly talented young Japanese avant-garde composer Asano works with piano, electronics, guitar etc. on this disc.
ASANO, KOJI Piano Suite Vol. 1: Fitness Club No. 1-20 (Solstice) cd 14.98
ASANO, KOJI Preparing For April (Solstice) cd 14.98
Composer/multi-instrumentalist/improviser Koji Asano's 13th self-released cd is here! A beautiful yet strange, oddly recorded disc of solo piano meditations, 67 minutes spread over six tracks. The ambient background his/hum is at times as much part of the soundscape as is Asano's piano playing (not unlike one of his three earlier piano discs, the lovely "You Cannot Open The Door Because It Is Already Open", which was recorded in an abandoned castle near St. Petersburg which provides plenty of echoey atmosphere). This one, though, was recorded in Asano's new home of Barcelona, Spain, and the atmosphere probably comes from the monaural micro-cassette recorder used for the recording! With a nice cover photo as always, a desolate desert landscape/sky with hopeful saplings sprouting inside protective cages.
ASANO, KOJI Quoted Landscape (Solstice) cd 14.98
Japanese sound artist Koji Asano recently (last weekend!) graced AQ with an instore performance, and it's a shame if you missed it 'cause what we'll call his "laptop Merzbow" style electronics were intense and mesmerizing indeed. He brought along copies of this new cd (his 20th! I asked him why he only ever releases stuff on his own label Solstice and he said it's so he can control when his music comes out, and in what order -- he's got another 5 releases planned for this year, I believe!). It's one long 73 minute track of crackle and hum, a lot of which sounds like wind-on-microphone recordings and very glitchy electrical connections. Needless to say, it's one of his most abstract and difficult compositions. While Koji's instore, and especially his other Bay Area performances, were high-volume computer-noise-drone juggernauts that satisfied on a visceral level (some of the audience were almost headbanging at his Sunday night show), this disc is much more subtle and non-digital and ambient. Not the Koji Asano album for newcomers to start with, but fans should investigate.
ASANO, KOJI Rabbit Room Reservation Center (Solstice) cd 16.98
The big 4-0 for our pal Koji here. No, he hasn't turned 40 (far from it) but he's reached his fortieth cd release! We've been fans since way back when you could count Koji Asano albums on the fingers of one hand. And we're happy to say that he's kept up the quality all along, as anyone who picked up number 39, reviewed here not too long ago, knows. Rabbit Room Reservation Centre (Koji has a thing for rabbits, it seems) is a visit to the dronier side of Asano's ouvre, which is a nice place to be. There's three tracks, lasting 10, 23 and 24 minutes or so. They've got the sound of insects and/or appliances amplified and abstracted... but we can only guess how he actually made this music. His press release reads thusly: "new electro-acoustic works, infiltrating slowly while deeply resounding." That doesn't say a lot but it's accurate! Generally we think he likes to leave things to the imagination, a bit mysterious, cryptic... so we'll simply offer up that some of this gives us the vibe of a propeller-driven airplane droning over the Himayalas, that sort of loneliness in a vast space... even if this simply may be the processed sounds of appliances in Asano's apartment. Or a Rabbit Room Reservation Center, whatever that is!
"Rabbit Room Reservation Center I" MPEG Stream:
"Rabbit Room Reservation Center II"
ASANO, KOJI Sanctuary On Reclaimed Land (Solstice) cd 16.98
Man, we've got some catching up to do. Since we last listed anything from prolific AQ-fave Koji Asano (that'd be 2002's Octopus Balloons), the Japanese avant-composer has moved from Barcelona back to Japan, gotten married, had a baby, and somehow managed to record and release another NINE albums. He's up to his thirty-seventh release now!! Dunno if we're gonna manage to retrospectively, individually review all of 'em but we'll at least try to get back with the program by presenting to you now numbers 36 (Sanctuary On Reclaimed Land) and 37 (Takoyakikun). We do, however, also have a couple copies each of The Giant Squid, Gondola Odyssey, Piano Suite Vol. 1: Fitness Club No. 1-20, Absurd Summer, Suite For Organ And Recorders No. 1: The Alien Power Plant, Zoo Telepathy, and Wind Gauge in stock for any fellow Asano enthusiasts that need to complete their collections right now. Anyway, Sanctuary On Reclaimed Land is definitely still the Koji Asano music we know and love. Recorded as part of an installation in an empty warehouse on the Osaka waterfront, literally a "sanctuary on reclaimed land", this 51 minute piece is the sound of the interaction of a grand piano with a computerized sound system inside the echoing interior space of the warehouse. Notes played on the piano were amplified, reflected, and reproduced via computer processing and multiple microphones and speakers. Asano says he "received the inspiration of moisture and the sea breeze, while vibrating the Osaka harbor warehouse by a large volume and ... completed a large integrated work of the grand piano and computer sound". The results are a gorgeous ambient drone piece, that sounds not unlike Wolfgang Voigt's work as Gas. We've always enjoyed Koji's various piano-based projects (discs like Preparing For April, The End Of August, You Cannot Open The Door Because It Is Already Open, and January Rainbow) and this one belongs in that bunch, but at the end of a continuum where the piano as an identifiable sound source is almost entirely abstracted. Very nice. Instead of the cardboard sleeves of most of his recent releases, this (and Takoyakikun too) comes housed in Asano's newest style of cd packaging, a plastic, sort of cd-sized dvd case.
"Sanctuary On Reclaimed Land (excerpt)"
ASANO, KOJI Solstice (Solstice) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Album number 1 in Koji's catalog. One of our all-time favorites of his. It's eclectic and noisy, with one part that sounds like a sampled ping-pong game.
ASANO, KOJI Spherical Moss Factory (Solstice) cd 14.98
With album number 26 in his rapidly expanding discography, Japanese experimental composer Koji Asano switches from packaging his cds in jewel cases to putting them in slim cardboard sleeves. He tells us that the reason for this change is in part because of a dream he had, about how his ancient Barcelona flat would collapse under the weight of all those jewel cases when he reached his hundredth release! And he's over a quarter of the way there already, so that's a real concern... This 72-minute "Spherical Moss Factory" disc continues Koji's interest in high-end (shrill) sonic explorations, being a piece in two parts written for violin and contrabass, performed by the Koji Asano String Ensemble, which consists of Tomomi Tokunaga and Kentaro Suzuki on those instruments respectively. But the first few minutes of track one don't betray the stringed instrument sound source, as the near-inaudible scrape of Tomomi's violin starts things off in what sounds like an emulation of the sine-wave electronics of Sachiko M. But soon the listener realizes that this is no computer processed piece, but an avant-classical composition featuring real human musicians on acoustic instruments. Track two displays quite a bit more energy from the get go, as Tomomi saws away on her violin with abandon, before relaxing and entering into a duet with Kentaro's deep contrabass bowing. All throughout both tracks, the violin and contrabass together trade mournful moans in a melodic (if melancholy) mode, punctuated by frenzied scrabblings. We may not be season ticket holders to the symphony or 20th/21st century classical experts, but we know what we like, and we do like this.
"Spherical Moss Factory pt. 2"
ASANO, KOJI Spirit Of The Wardrobe (Solstice) cd 14.98
AQ-fave Japanese sound experimentalist Asano is putting us to the test with another of his monthy (!) releases, another one on the "difficult" (for him) side of things. Maybe the monthly schedule is getting the better of him, too, 'cause here he kinda takes a breather with what's really a very conceptual album. He recorded some sounds in his backyard in Barcelona, then processed them into brief bursts of audible activity spaced between long stretches of pure silence, these placements in time being his main compositional task. The disc is nearly an hour long, but there may be less than a minute of actual sound on it! Yep, we said it was conceptual! (A term which, depending on your viewpoint, can equal stupid.) It's not meant for "normal" music listening usage at all, like when you put a cd in the player and think "ok, I'm listening to some music/sound now" (whether you pay attention to it or not). Instead, this idea here is to play this when perhaps you weren't intending to really listen to anything. 'Cause the cd isn't really "playing" in a normal sense. It's more like by putting it in your cd player you're "activating" this disc, which will occasionally make itself known in sudden, startling fashion. If you don't pay attention, it's background noise -- but background noise that can be confusing or shocking depending on at what volume you've set your stereo. If it's low, you'll think you're hearing things, if it's high, it can be, well, startling. If you *do* pay attention, you'll allow yourself the tense experience of waiting and anticipating the appearance of Koji's next sound-segment, which themselves are mysterious fragments to puzzle over (wondering about their sources and so forth). In a word: interesting...hmm...well, it can make you think about the recreational role of sound-use in your life, what "listening" means to you.
"Spirit Of The Wardrobe (excerpt)"
ASANO, KOJI Spring Estuary (Solstice) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Ok, it's that time again. We've got two new ones here from AQ fave Koji Asano, the eclectic and very prolific Japanese experimental composer. These are numbers 38 and 39 in his steadily growing cd catalog!! Number 39 is his very latest recording, Spring Estuary. The vague information we have seems to indicate that Asano used water as a sound source for this disc. But it sure doesn't sound like him splashing about in the bath! It's really shimmery and sort of churchy -- we would have guessed that he was manipulating recordings of pipe organ and/or bells, though the third track sounds like more like wheezing horns, all distorted and billowy. There's a total of four tracks here, the final one taking up the majority of the disc at almost 34 minutes in length. Imagine that the children's carousel in the park is somehow also one of Philip Jeck's turntables -- a giant Jeck turntable/carousel, turning and turning, its pretty music blurred and warped and utterly overwhelming and enveloping all around it. Very nice!
"Spring Estuary II" MPEG Stream:
"Spring Estuary III"
ASANO, KOJI Suite For Organ And Recorders No. 1 - "The Alien Power Plant" (Solstice) cd 16.98
ASANO, KOJI Sunshine Filtering Through Foliage (Solstice) cd 14.98
See "Avalanches" for info.
ASANO, KOJI Takoyakikun (Solstice) cd 14.98
Man, we've got some catching up to do. Since we last listed anything from prolific AQ-fave Koji Asano (that'd be 2002's Octopus Balloons), the Japanese avant-composer has moved from Barcelona back to Japan, gotten married, had a baby, and somehow managed to record and release another NINE albums. He's up to his thirty-seventh release now!! Dunno if we're gonna manage to retrospectively, individually review all of 'em but we'll at least try to get back with the program by presenting to you now numbers 36 (Sanctuary On Reclaimed Land) and 37 (Takoyakikun). We do, however, also have a couple copies each of The Giant Squid, Gondola Odyssey, Piano Suite Vol. 1: Fitness Club No. 1-20, Absurd Summer, Suite For Organ And Recorders No. 1: The Alien Power Plant, Zoo Telepathy, and Wind Gauge in stock for any fellow Asano enthusiasts that need to complete their collections right now. Takoyakikun is a bit of a departure for Asano, or maybe a return to his roots. For one thing, it's not one long, cd-length track, but several different, individual songs. Songs? Well, instrumental rock numbers anyway. Yes, rock. Or avant-rock, or prog-rock, or something. And, unlike most of his releases which are solo recordings (or sometimes string ensembles), this is a band project -- the very same band with which he made one of his first discs, Gravity. Maddeningly convoluted and repetitive at times, this is choppy, angular, occasionally melodic, no-wave instrumental improv prog from a trio of guitar, keyboards and drums (Asano being the guitarist). We think folks into other skronky underground Japanese prog-core acts like Ruins and Korekyojinn would find this of interest... The keys definitely give it a "classic" prog vibe, and there's even a drum solo in track five! Recorded in 1997 (and released as a cd-r only at the time) now Asano has remastered and repackaged Takoyakikun for a proper cd release on his Solstice label.
"Takoyakikun track 1" MPEG Stream:
"Takoyakikun track 2" MPEG Stream:
"Takoyakikun track 3"
ASANO, KOJI The End Of August (Solstice) cd 16.98
Beautiful! This new release from prolific Barcelona-based Japanese experimental composer Koji Asano, number 22 (!) in his ongoing series of fascinating self-released recordings, is described by Asano as "a long lost memory of a once heard piano." Now, he has released several other gorgeous discs of ambient piano improv, but this one augments his melodic piano abstractions with what sounds like a layered, electronic collage of church bells ringing, backed with a mesmerizing insect buzz, capturing the humid, humming ambience of a late summer afternoon... Unlike some of Koji's other recent releases which were on the creepier, darker, noisier side of things, this is simply gorgeous. Melancholic, yes, but lovely too. Recommended. (Asano disc #23, "A Second Dam", is on the way, by the way.)
"The End of August (excerpt)"
ASANO, KOJI The Giant Squid: A Collection Of Short Pieces Vol. 1 - Works From 1997-1998 (Solstice) cd 14.98
ASANO, KOJI The Last Shade of Evening Falls 2/4 (Solstice) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Briefly, part two rachets the tension up even further with some insectoid drones, lonely and menacing.
ASANO, KOJI The Last Shade of Evening Falls 3/4 (Solstice) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Part three seems to have the most dynamism, with Asano's gurgling late-evening drones meeting with sudden, eerie, shudder-inducing stabs in the growing darkness.