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Monday 2 April 2018, 8pm

Photo by Yohsuke Matsuoka

Sugai Ken + Kirk Barley

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Japanese electronic artist, Sugai Ken performs at OTO following on from last year's UkabazUmorezU album on RVNG Intl.

With a melodic cluster dripping into a pool of dark water, UkabazUmorezU’s arrival ripples as an apex in Sugai Ken’s continued construction of a deeply resonant, enveloping sound world. Upon contact, UkabazUmorezU gently and generously unfurls across aural alleys and streets mundanely but mystically detailed with recontextualized Japanese rituals and tradition.

Sugai’s compositional language took its most cohesive form in the producer’s almost decade long career with the 2016 album On The Quakefish. Evolving the sound design intuited on 2010’s ToKiShiNe and 2014’s Tada, Quakefish utilized an all-seeing, all-knowing edit for wider screens and wilder properties. The sable stage set for UkabazUmorezU is both bottomless and forgiving, a rich soil for new experiments to grow in Ken’s self-described “style that conjures [the] subtle and profound ambience of night in Japan.”

A lived experience of traditional Japanese music’s conversation with environment, and vice versa, forms the melodic make-up and metaphysical philosophy conditioning UkabazUmorezU. Upon imagining a landscape, Sugai decomposes the image (and the images within the image) and replaces it with a sound representation – an artifactual terrain, tethered to but abstracted from the natural world.

Kirk Barley

Kirk Barley is a Yorkshire composer and sound artist, currently based in London.

His highly textural music is formed from studio and field recordings, digital synthesis, and musique concrète audio processing techniques. Drawing influence from minimalist music, techno and hip-hop, he experiments with unusual time signatures, just intonation tunings and algorithmic composition, to create a unique and compelling soundworld.

Kirk has performed across the UK, Europe and Canada, and has completed commissioned work for the Open Music Archive and British Art Show.

https://kirkbarley.com/

Landscapes is the latest release from prolific Yorkshire born composer and producer Kirk Barley. Across a tight 34-minute runtime, the album presents eleven short pieces that inhabit an exotic, other-worldly space of chiming guitars, buzzing insects and squelching synth tones.
Working with looped fragments of his own instrumental, electronic and field-recorded sounds, Barley assembled the tracks from edited improvisations, some of them enriched with live drums from Matt Davies. Barley's skittering, off-kilter loops overlap freely, combining with meterless, free-jazz-inspired drumming and processed environmental field recordings to craft gently surging sonic environments. At once static and constantly shifting, the pieces unfold themselves like views of a landscape, where we take in individual details one at a time while always remaining aware of the whole.

Photo credit Brian Whar

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