Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Artist: Yūko Imada
Label: Zoom Lens
Moon is the fourth release from Anaheim-based artist Yūko Imada. Founded by Garrett Yim and including a revolving lineup of local collaborators and performers, the group (which on record consists solely of core member Yim) existed initially as a harsh noise unit, a sound which is exemplified by オタク (2008), the project's first release. オタク is very much a harsh noise release both in spirit and sound; the sound is a focussed aural assault that makes use of cut up samples and vocals, whilst simultaneously attaining an almost analogue sound, splintered with sections of sparse ambience.
Ocean (2009) and Ōme (2009) came soon after, both showing new sides to the Yūko Imada sound; the former focussing on fluid, ambient sounds augmented by the sound eminating from a subtly manipulated guitar, and the latter continuing on from where オタク left off, tracing a thin line between ambience and noise, and consisting of a music-box of looping noise phrases and vocals. Both releases test where the boundaries between harsh noise and blissful ambience lie, all the while retaining a spiritual connection to the cathartic explorations of Japanese noise.
Moon is the fourth release, and serves as the spiritual successor to Ōme. Sonically, the album brings the listener closer still to a central point between the schizophrenic noise/ambient polarity prevalent in Yim's work. While Ocean seemed to capture the feeling of isolation when dwarfed by the vastness of eternity, sunburnt and floating alone in an endless ocean, Moon seems to me to be more inward looking. It is like an inverted telescope, facing inwards and capturing the ebbs and convulsions of the soul. It is the feeling of lying alone at the bottom of a well, all limbs broken, only the moonlight to comfort you. It's not about feeling dwarfed by the vastness of the deserted space outside of yourself, but by the deserted spaces inside. Snow falls all around in a seemingly endless forest. You fall into the well. You begin to think and soon your memories and reality become merged. The well starts filling up with water as the snow begins to melt. You realise that your limbs are broken and you're drowning. Completely paralysed.
Moon was released as both a limited edition CDr through the Zoom Lens label, packaged in an envelope with the artwork printed on the outside and an insert listing the tracks and as a limited edition C25 cassette through the Moribund Tree label. The albums can also be heard in their entirety on BandCamp.
2) 400, 000 km
3) Sunsets at Sunrise
5) On Seeing
7) Years Slipped Past
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Here's the performance of 'Above the Railway':
I also thoroughly recommend going to the actual video pages to watch the videos in HD.
I've had trouble finding any of Nikaido Kazumi's music for sale anywhere other than on Japanese sites (complete with Japanese prices!), so if anyone who reads this blog knows of a European distributor, then just write a comment and I'll add it to the list below.