29 August

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Yoshihide Namasu – 姦淫と死 Adultery&Execution (Engram Recordings, 2019)

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If you want to make lots of friends and get everyone dancin’ the night away at your next soirée, be sure to patch Yoshihide Namasu’s latest digital release, 姦淫と死 Adultery&Execution, into yr bluetooth sound system and laissez les bons temps rouler! Comprised of six tracks — or fragments, like? — Namasu’s release feels more akin to a dive headlong into pipping hot schizophrenic catatonia than putting on your favourite sweater and spinning through a wobblin’ warblin’ stack of extended plays.

Sonically, 姦淫と死 Adultery&Execution, features a rollicking, machine-cum-electronic blend of Jaap Blonk’s nervous neo-dadaism (see also, the album’s surreal hyperreal artwork), with a humorous ferocity, suggestive of everything from compatriot Merzbow’s late 1990s work ( the album’s pulsing closer “音響詩13王墓|囚徒 king grave|Prisoner” wouldn’t be out of place on Aqua Necromancer) to Red Mecca-era Cabaret Voltaire (Sheffield be damned!). The only question that remains is how to keep ye olde party pals nice ‘n smug when the good vibes have zipped by in a flash of 10 or so minutes…Enter the era of industro-dada? You betcha.

 

1 August

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Keith Rowe and Toshimaru Nakamura — Weather Sky (2001, Erstwhile)

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Sure, this release is several years old, but here at Marginal HQ, we’ve been exuberantly waiting for the right moment to review this collaboration between free noise legends Keith Rowe (on guitar) and Toshimaru Nakamura (on the “no-input” mixing board). “Weather Sky #1” opens with a high-pitched sine wave fading in; around the :45 second mark, in fades electronic noise on the left channel. This makes way to alligator clips rattling strings at around the 2:40 mark and the duo really start to jive. Sci-fi soundscapes weave with sine waves, fizzing electronics, scrambled 8-bit gurgles, and the myriad other sonic oddities Rowe lures from his guitar. Nakamura provides continuity and a sense of (anti-?)rhythm with droning sine (or triangle) waves. There are large segments of the opening piece where little happens. When one of the artists diverges, it is often only a soupçon of sound. In the final third, things hasten. Mechanical humming (most likely emanating from Rowe) supplants nearly all else. When Rowe cuts out, Nakamura remains steadfast and enveloped in electronic bliss until the piece fades out. “Weather Sky #2” is much more accessible. Not only owing to the fact that it is only five minutes in duration, but many of themes and motifs lack the esotericism of the other pieces. Despite it’s short length, the piece does not feel forced or haphazard. The final piece on Weather Sky (“Weather Sky #3”) feels both tenuous and private. At times, the piece feels like a straight-ahead dark ambient piece; yet Nakamura and Rowe’s reinforcing of one another, creates a collective sea of sound, whose opaque and reticent surface conceals untold mysterious and captivates the listener. Whilst we prefer the din Rowe knocks out as one part of the AMM, Weather Sky is an excellent deconstructionist work by two heavyweights of experimental sound. Coupled with Rowe’s painting of an éclair on the cover, fans of either artist, Chondritic Sound, or the otherworldly racket of either the AMM or Dead C are sure to enjoy this release.

30 July

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Leo Dupleix & Toshimaru Nakamura — Futaride (2016, Off)

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This 2016 collaboration between French pianist and experimental musician Léo Dupleix and Japanese mastermind of the “no-input mixing board” Toshimaru Nakamura, yields four gilt-edged, science fiction electro soundscapes which are sure to be of interest for noiseniks and fans of the avant-garde. The title of the release feels entirely appropriate (seemingly, a portmanteau of the english words “future” and “ride”), as the sounds of this release catapult the listener forward, disdainfully chipping away at the space/time continuum, as unrelenting bursts of moving air hastening one into a temporal purgatory that isn’t quite the present and isn’t quite the future. The opening two tracks (pragmatically titled) “1” and “2” initiate the journey acting as mechanical neuroleptics whose blurry outburst begin to enshroud the listener in preparation for the impending cosmic exhilaration. The twelve minute long “3” is a seismic departure from the opening two tracks, featuring washed out and highly emotive string-like keyboard passages. Remarkably, the track had nearly ended before I realized the soporific and fascinating transformation that transpired: the duo manage to slowly fade in a host of electro-hisses and clangs that sound as if they’ve been culled from a lost Tarkovsky film. The strings are lost in the tempest by the 5:00 minute mark and all that remains is a cacophonous and structureless electronic nebula. At the precise moment that one finds themselves awash in sonic bliss, a blistering wave of what sounds like microphonic stuns the listener, marking the final two minutes of the track with a jolt. The closer “4” is yet another bastard offspring of a 1960s science fiction masterpiece. It is disquieting in its tenor and cinematic in its execution. The duo excel in their ability to riff off one another and on this release, masterfully craft provocative compositions that take place somewhere between the shop floor and outer space. Like the preceding track, the listener is taken on a hellish journey that descends into absolute disarray, only to be pulled from tumult before it is too late. It’s not industrial, it’s not electronic, and it’s not the future, yet somehow, in a seeming contradiction of terms, it’s all of those things.