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Atlantic Waves 20oct09: LIFEM 09

The very first London International Festival of Exploratory Music (LIFEM) unites the myspace generation of musical explorers from the four corners of the globe.

Produced by Red Orange and presented in the perfect acoustics of Kings Place, LIFEM has truly exploited the incredible potential of the world-wide-web to seek the most exciting finds from the far East, the middle East, the Arctic Circle, south America and East and West Europe. LIFEM shows just what the internet can do for world music.

LIFEM has curated evenings which bring together a selection of artists from shared continents to reveal the commonality and differences between them.

Kings Place’s Hall 2 presents three dancefloor fillers from Brazil, where the well-loved rhythms of samba have mutated via musical technology to create exotic electronica. With a powerful political message are Coletivo Rádio Cipó community activists, and their music fuses Brazilian styles funk de morro, samba, pontos de terreiros, carimbó and batucada with hip hop, dub and electro beats. Daniel Peixoto brings it bang up to date with dirty, DIY electro pop with more than his slashed neon t-shirts in common with German electro-trash. Closing the sweaty non-stop dancing is Da Cruz and her clash of bossa, indie-rock, electro, samba, dubstep and jazz. Selected to perform at LIFEM earlier this year, Da Cruz has just been announced on the Womex 09 programme.

A classically trained pianist, Midori Hirano had engaged the industry’s curiosity well before the EP release Poet at the Piano and European tour in 2004. Organic layers of piano, strings and electronic sampling create delicate, transparent sound poems. Oorutaichi contrasts sharply with Midori’s wistfulness, producing upfront technicolour songs influenced by Tyrannosaurus Rex, Aphex Twin and Dancehall Reggae. The founder of Okimi Records, Oorutaichi’s other projects include dancehall / broken toy music duo Obakejaa (with DJ Shabu Shabu) and Urichipangoon, a 4 piece progressive folk band featuring ex-Boredoms drummer Muneomi Senju. The brilliantly monikered DJ Scotch Egg brings LIFEM to a close with his surreal set of performance DJing. Armed only with a megaphone, four Nintendo Game Boys and a mixer, his gabber and breaknoise tracks are brought to a close with the hurling of scotch eggs into the crowd.

Alongside this whirlwind tour of global music, LIFEM also presents a free programme of award-winning short films making their UK debut.

www.lifem.org.uk

87 Atlantic Waves 20oct09

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Atlantic Waves 24mar09: L'Experience Japonaise 2009 - Nimes Biennial, 24-28 Mar 09 (France)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 80: Pete Namlook, Tetsu Inoue

shades-of-orion-3This review isn’t quite destined to describe a Namlook album out of thousand others, a Namlook project out of dozen diverse, a Namlook trend/style out of several big ones or even the two masks of Namlook himself (N-the soloist, obscure and obsessive, and N-the collaborator, sharing or splitting his way of doing electronic music, but also always leaving a print that belongs to him and him alone). It’s more of a write which tries to emphasize what could be subtle, special or at least substantial in this individual musical record, what’s its creative energy, what’s good beyond what’s bad…at most compared with the previous albums from this definitive project.

Tetsu Inoue and Pete Namlook (wonder why in this order and not backwards?) have a lot in common (even if it’s sometimes incredible), still also have a way of complementing themselves in style and composition. In what’s “just” the third brush of the entire Shades Of Orion project (let’s not mention the others that aged in the same way) the two artists again choose an old-style of electronic craft & sound, but don’t leave it modest in any way. The epic work here can be reduced to “d & d (dark & deep) ambient electronic”, but that still leaves space to talk about the particular attitude Inoue & Namlook adopted when making it. An attitude that, at first, led to a splendid choice of ideas and balaced instrumentality in preparation for the album itself, but, as it didn’t go all the way till the end, the result was left ambivalent. Shades Of Orion 3 is either oriented towards dark surrounds, either slows down to passive, mellow or ordinary effects.

The album kicks in captivatingly, even in a more original spark than usually, though after a while you realize there’s a bit of carelessness in the handle. Betelgeuzian Ritual (the titles are among the annoying kind, but let’s better stick to music) is effectively a sparkful trance, with dissonant notes, mega-bass rhythms and a paste of meditative atmosphere. The strange sounds could express themselves emotions, though their artificiality is the main ingredient. Stranded On Rigel is more productive and full of electronic suaveness. It’s interestingly close to the sound & shine of the older epic Orion Transfer (from Shades Of Orion 2), but the actual and particular approach makes out a light-ambient and electro-modern experience. Melodies and organic sounds persist initially, but in the second part of this “naive masterpiece”, everything regresses towards soft noises and silent waves. So, out of a first “lounging” mood, you end up listening to technical clusters. Inoucent and Serious (again, cheesy titles for a complex work) is good and thrilling, pulsing the same hollow ambient style as before. Even if it’s a mere symbolic impression, the music here is both of a translucid and heavy range, both of a sharp quality and bit old essence.

This cup of modern, ambiguous electro-therapeutic session is toasted for dark, deep meditations. Of a subversive ambient power and a concept of heavy, crispy if empty sound blazes, Shades Of Orion 3, the last of its kind for now, is yet naturally artistic. Three stars awarded for a work that “sins”, in which the two masters have risked some things, but a work that’s succulent enough as well. (Progarchives.com)

01 Pete Namlook and Tetsu Inoue: “Betelgeuzian Ritual” (06:55) from “Shades of Orion 3” (1996)
02 Pete Namlook and Tetsu Inoue: “Stranded on Rigel 3” (38:26) from “Shades of Orion 3” (1996)
03 Pete Namlook and Tetsu Inoue: “Inouecent and Sirius” (25:38) from “Shades of Orion 3” (1996)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 64: Yoshiaki Nagumo, 21 Floor

Yoshiaki Nagumo is a Japanese experimental musician based in Narita, Japan.

21 Floor is a Chinese experimental art project feat. Lin Zhiying, Justin Zhong Minjie, Zhang Anding & video artist Thom Chin. Based in Guangzhou the group performs in alternative spaces like offices, KTV or Internet cafes.

01 Yoshiaki Nagumo: “Shadow Was Stolen” (14:33) from “Summer Wired The Shadow” (2006)
02 Yoshiaki Nagumo: “Space Without Distance” (08:29) from “Summer Wired The Shadow” (2006)
03 21 Floor: “Room 01_01” (16:20) from “Room 01” (2005)
04 21 Floor: “Room 01_02” (12:34) from “Room 01” (2005)
05 21 Floor: “Room 01_03” (13:38) from “Room 01” (2005)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 60: FengHao, Yoshiaki Nagumo

Feng Hao, experimental musician, sound artist, improviser and graphic designer. Born in Hefei China in 1976. He majored in painting. Member of experimental duo Walnut Room. Founder of experimental band Amoeba and Show Oligarch.

Yoshiaki Nagumo is a Japanese experimental musician based in Narita, Japan.

01 FengHao: “11/06/2002” (06:01) from “Sound” (2007)
02 FengHao: “28/06/2002” (05:10) from “Sound” (2007)
03 FengHao: “02/07/2002” (07:40) from “Sound” (2007)
04 FengHao: “14/07/2002” (05:18) from “Sound” (2007)
05 FengHao: “23/07/2002” (07:17) from “Sound” (2007)
06 FengHao: “29/07/2002” (07:28) from “Sound” (2007)
07 Yoshiaki Nagumo: “Slow Burn” (9:58) from “Summer Wired The Shadow” (2006)
08 Yoshiaki Nagumo: “Skyliner” (12:30) from “Summer Wired The Shadow” (2006)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 54: Yoshi Wada

Yoshi Wada (surname Wada; born Yoshimasa Wada, Japan) is a sound installation artist and musician living in the United States. He lived in New York for many years but now lives in San Francisco, California.

Wada received an arts degree, then joined the Fluxus movement in 1968 after meeting George Maciunas. He also studied with the great North Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath. Wada’s works often incorporate the use of drone and are usually performed at very high volume, allowing for the music’s overtones to be heard very clearly.

He frequently performs his own compositions, which feature much freedom of improvisation, on Scottish highland bagpipe and voice, and also employs a number of homemade instruments. These include “pipe horns” (very long horn-type instruments made from metal plumbing pipe) as well as large reed instruments involving multiple bagpipe-like pipes connected to a large air compressor; due to their appearance, Wada named these latter instruments “Alligator” and “the Elephantine Crocodile”. His music has been scarcely released on recordings, having seen only two LP releases, on the India Navigation (1982) and FMP labels, the former of which (entitled Lament For The Rise and Fall of Elephantine Crocodile) was reissued by a Japanese label in 2008.

Wada is also known for his mechanical and robotic installations. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the mid-1990s, he performed a whimsically entitled piece, Lament for the Rise and Fall of Handy-Horn, in which several compressed-air “auditory flare” signals used for nautical emergencies (the “Handy Horn” brand named in the title) were sounded for the duration of their usefulness, giving rise to an alarmingly high-decibel air-pressure environment and charged psychoacoustic environment.

Best known for his work as part of the Fluxus collective, sound artist Yoshi Wada only released two albums, the rarest of which is reissued here. 1981’s Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile contains two pieces: one half-hour vocal drone focusing on overtones in a reverberant space, and another, slightly longer piece based on a bagpipe-like homemade instrument, which drones in a magnificently aggressive fashion exhaustively. On this piece you can certainly hear the connection between Wada and cohort la Monte Young, but there’s also a real similarity between this latter composition and Jim O’Rourke’s early organ drones. These pieces present a similar illusion of featureless, complete temporal stasis, with sustain spiraling off into infinity. Which, in case you’re unclear on the matter, would be a good thing.

01 Yoshi Wada: “Singing” (31:06) from “Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile” (1981, 2008)
02 Yoshi Wada: “Bagpipe” (33:17) from “Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile” (1981, 2008)

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Atlantic Waves 17jun08: Japan

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Atlantic Waves 03jun08: Japan - Female Rock'n'Roll

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Atlantic Waves 04mar08: Asian Flashback

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 28: Bill Laswell, Terre Thaemlitz, Atom Heart, Tetsu Inoue

“Web” has some of the most abrasive, industrial leaning ambient of either of these composers’ careers. Chains rattle, voices whisper menacingly, and dark, dissonant textures and deep bass drones collide on a trio of extended tracks united by the questionably thematic topic of digital communications technology. Difficult but rewarding.

“Second Nature” is a typical Bill Laswell excursion into the murkiest depths of ambient experimentalism, meaning there’s no danceable beats, no hummable grooves, and virtually no firm melodic ground for listeners to grab hold of. That said, patient listening will be rewarded in due time. This is some seriously crazy, experimental stuff; a bit too subtle for casual listeners, but an interesting ride for those passengers willing to ride it out to the end of the line.

American bassist Bill Laswell (Praxis, Massacre, etc.) is the founder of ‘collision music’ – a collaborative concept that brings together musicians from divergent instrumentations and backgrounds. “City of Light” is about Banaras, a city older than history, tradition, way beyond legends. It is Shiva’s land, founded at the dawn of creation. It is India’s oldest and most fabled city. The Hindus call it Kashi, the luminous…

01. Bill Laswell, Terre Thaemlitz: “Open URL” (from “Web”, Subharmonic, 1995)
02. Bill Laswell, Terre Thaemlitz: “Transfer Complete” (from “Web”, Subharmonic, 1995)
03. Atom Heart, Tetsu Inoue, Bill Laswell: “Green Paste” (from “Second Nature”, Submeta, 1996)
04. Bill Laswell: “Kashi (with Tetsu Inoue)” (from “City Of Light”, Sub Rosa, 1997)
05. Bill Laswell: “Above The Earth (with Lori Carson)” (from “City Of Light”, Sub Rosa, 1997)
06. Bill Laswell: “Nothing” (from “City Of Light”, Sub Rosa, 1997)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 22: dbkaos, ARC, Robert Rich & Ian Boddy, Tetsu Inoue, Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich

“Index02” is a bargain label sampler from DiN, featuring contributions from Reuter/Boddy, arc, Sunsonic Experience and dbkaos. All tickled into a continuous 78 minute mix by Ian Boddy, many people will already be privy to the DiN sound thanks to the “Index01” CD dished out with Wire back in 2001. Acting as an aural cousin to that release, “Index02” inhabits a similar paddock of electronica, serving up hot and creamy solitude in a style reminiscent of The Blue Room. Keeping any mixing shenanigans to a bare minimum, Boddy’s unobtrusive segueing allows the individual tracks to shine independently rather than being trussed up on an over-arching structure which requires your full attention. Beatific throughout and cheap as chips, “Index02” is the sound that dust caught in sunlight would make were nature a bit more conducive to electronica.

“Lithosphere” is the second collaborative release between DiN label boss Ian Boddy & American ambient pioneer Robert Rich. Following on from their debut album “Outpost” (2002) the duo once again decided to eschew the false economy of a purely virtual collaboration and convened at Rich’s Californian Soundscape studio to physically work together over an intense period of 10 days. Following Boddy ‘s departure Rich then honed and fine-tuned the arrangements before finalising the mastering of the project. Whereas “Outpost” was sonically ‘out there’ and was perceived by many to have its heart in the realms of space music, “Lithosphere” has a more earthy, organic quality. Once again the album is centered around Rich ‘s signature lap steel guitar voicings and the deep bass rumblings of his analogue MOTM modular system. However Boddy ‘s input is unexpected in its direction with astonishing sound design elements intermingling with delicate keyboard textures using high quality sampled glass & stone percussion instruments together with haunting string & woodwind loops. One of the binding forces for this album was the duo’s decision to utilise an alternate just intonation tuning. This at times gives the harmonies a piquant flavour whereas at others a glistening quality that just adds to the sonic exotica that Boddy & Rich have concocted on “Lithosphere”. Boddy has always pushed the aspect of collaborations within his DiN catalogue and “Lithosphere” shows the true advantage such a philosophy brings to bear musically on the labels output. The album is a true reflection of the two artists combined efforts and could only have been produced with their joint work ethic. “Outpost” is one of the most popular DiN albums. There ‘s every chance that “Lithosphere”could surpass the high standard that its illustrious predecessor has set.

I first came in contact with Inoue on hearing the sublime “Active/Freeze” collaboration with Taylor Deupree on 12k. Since then I have managed to backtrack through his vast collection of releases including collaborations with such scene luminaries as Bill Laswell and Atom Heart. This new record for the DiN label is possibly the most completely realised record I can bring to mind from Inoue, and he displays a masterful grasp of marrying live instrumentation and digital noise. Each track has a certain crystalline property to it, but it avoids the usual trapping of ‘ambient’ music and never breaches that boundary into the dreaded world of ‘New Age’. Musical comparisons would range from Harold Budd and Shuttle 358 to the thick noisy clouds of Tim Hecker.

Taking a hefty chunk of influence from Tangerine Dream and then blending it with 1990s IDM isn’t a direction you’d expect an artist to take, but then Ian Boddy’s been doing this stuff for quite some time now and has built up something of a reputation. Although it occasionally skates rather close to the new age genre, much of “Elemental” has more in common with Manual, Ulrich Schnauss or at times even US retro-synth dudes Zombi. It’s not that I can’t take synth-prog music (I not-so-secretly love it…) but there’s something about the way Boddy seems to rely on playing it safe that makes “Elemental” a little less than breathtaking.

“Conundrum” marks the musical meeting point of Klaus Hoffman-Hoock and Bernhard Wostheinreich, which integrates the experimental noodlings of the former with the electronic processing techniques of the latter. “Conundrum” is a trance-inducing blend of digital ambience and ethereal, often droning instrumentation. The album’s title track makes an outright foray into Eastern sounds, giving the piece a distinctly new age sensibility which runs through much of the rest of the album, albeit in a less pronounced fashion.

01. dbkaos: “Hydrosphere” (from “Index02”, DIN, 2005)
02. ARC: “Silent White Light” (from “Index02”, DIN, 2005)
03. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Glass” (from “Lithosphere”, DIN, 2005)
04. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Subduction” (from “Lithosphere”, DIN, 2005)
05. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Stone” (from “Lithosphere”, DIN, 2005)
06. Tetsu Inoue: “Remote” (from “Yolo”, DIN, 2005)
07. Tetsu Inoue: “Particular Moments” (from “Yolo”, DIN, 2005)
08. Tetsu Inoue: “Flow” (from “Yolo”, DIN, 2005)
09. Ian Boddy: “Never Forever” (from “Boddy Elemental”, DIN, 2006)
10. Ian Boddy: “If All The World Was Blue” (from “Boddy Elemental”, DIN, 2006)
11. Ian Boddy: “Flux” (from “Boddy Elemental”, DIN, 2006)
12. Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich: “Conundrum” (from “Conundrum”, DIN, 2007)
13. Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich: “Swarmandel” (from “Conundrum”, DIN, 2007)
14. Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich: “Moonlit” (from “Conundrum”, DIN, 2007)

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Clear Spot on Akira Ifukube

Miguel Santos (Musa Lusa, Atlantic Waves Festival, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation) presents a special programme on the music of Japanese composer Akira Ifukube, this Tuesday 18th April 2006, 7-8pm (GMT), on Resonance 104.4fm (www.resonancefm.com). This show will be repeated in the following Tuesday, 25 April, at 11am.

On 8 February 2006 Akira Ifukube, the Japanese composer best known for the Godzilla soundtrack, died of multiple organ failure at a Tokyo hospital aged 91. Ifukube wrote more than 250 film scores over the course of 50 years, and was head of the Tokyo College of Music from 1976 to 1987. He rose to fame in 1954 with his menacing Godzilla score. In 2003 the Japanese government named him a Person of Cultural Merit, one of its highest awards.

One of the most respected contemporary composers in Japan, Akira Ifukube has also led something of a double life as one of the most popular and prolific film composers in Japan since the late 1940s. He was born in 1914 in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, which was one of the homes of the aboriginal Ainu, the native people of Japan. As a boy, Ifukube listened to their music, which greatly influenced his own musical creativity. The “ostinato” style that Akira Ifukube later used in his film scores recapitulated the percussive, repetitive nature of Ainu’s folk music and dancing.

Ifukube was a self-taught violinist and earned prizes for his early compositional efforts. He majored in music and forestry, and the latter provided him with his living until just after World War II, when he began teaching music as a professor at Tokyo Art University, and started writing film scores, mainly at Toho Studios. His movie scores quickly distinguished themselves for their inventiveness and richness, incorporating Eastern and Western elements.

In 1954, Ifukube was assigned to score the Toho film Gojira, directed by Ishiro Honda, which provided him with a unique canvas on which to work. A science fiction film shot in a neo-realist style and inspired by a tragic incident involving Japanese fishermen whose boat was contaminated by fallout from an American H-bomb test, Gojira became a vehicle for some of the most expressive orchestral music of Ifukube’s career. He also became the Japanese film music composer most widely heard in the West, when the movie was recut, partly dubbed, and released in America as Godzilla, King Of The Monsters.

Ifukube went on to write more than 250 film scores in a career lasting 50 years, including some of the most respected movies ever made in Japan, among them Harp Of Burma (aka The Burmese Harp), for which he would appropriate the funereal music from his Gojira score and expand on its thematic material.

Akira Ifukube retired in the 1990s, but returned to Toho one last time to write the music for what was then proposed to be the studio’s final Godzilla movie, Godzilla Vs. Destroyer, for which he reprised his 1954 work once more in a film with a direct link to the original movie. Ifukube remains a uniquely revered figure in Japanese music, among the nation’s most respected and widely recorded (and performed) composers for the concert hall, and also the country’s most well known and widely recorded (and re-recorded) film composer. In 2003, he received a Person of Cultural Merit award, one of Japan’s highest honours.

Make sure you tune in to 104.4fm or click on www.resonancefm.com (wherever in the world you are).

01 Akira Ifukube: “Sound Effect: Varan’s Cry” (1958) (00:25) from “ Varan, The Unbelievable” (Futureland/Toshiba EMI Japan TYCY-5500, 1996)
02 Akira Ifukube: “Symphonic Fantasia” (1983) (15:03) from “Symphonic Ode” (Les Disques du Soleil et de l’Acier DSA 54024, 1989)
03 Akira Ifukube: “Ode (Acynthia Buddha)” (1989) (11:05) from “Symphonic Ode” (Les Disques du Soleil et de l’Acier DSA 54024, 1989)
04 Akira Ifukube: “The Lake Kimtaankamuito” (1992) (16:07) from “Anthology of vox principal works” (Camerata 30CM-391-2, 1995)
05 Akira Ifukube: “Fifth Poem After ‘Inaba Manyo’ “ (1994) (04:23) from “Anthology of vox principal works” (Camerata 30CM-391-2, 1995)
06 Akira Ifukube: “Sakuma Damu Daiichibu – The Tenryugawa River in Full View” (1954) (03:15) from “Film Composer Selection: Iwanami” (Vap Inc. Japan VPCD-81190, 1997)
07 Akira Ifukube: “Zatoichi, Nidangiri – Main Title” (1965) (02:16) from “Film Composer Selection: Daiei” (Vap Inc. Japan VPCD-81186, 1997)
08 Akira Ifukube: “Sky Scraper! – Ending” (1969) (02:03) from “Film Composer Selection: Toei” (Vap Inc. Japan VPCD-81188, 1997)

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