Three of the most important figures in Japan's improv scene combine with multi-instrumentalist Mark Wastell for this remarkable album on Confront. Foldings was awarded an honourary mention at 2003's Prix Ars Electronica, also scooping a top ten place in The Wire magazine's improvised recordings of the year list. Londoner Mark Wastell visited Tokyo's legendary Offsite venue with guitarist Taku Sugimoto, no-input mixing board maestro Toshimaru Nakamura and Tetuzi Akiyama, who on this release takes up residence behind a turntable. As with so much of the output from these musicians (certainly from around the time this performance was recorded) much of the music is tiny gestures, played with a strange logic, which barely punctuats a gauze of near-silence throughout. It's beautifully restrained though, and ranks as one of the most radical and involving documents within the electroacoustic, super-silent 'onkyo' canon. If you've got the patience for it, this is marvellous stuff.
Tetuzi Akiyama / turntable, air duster
Toshimaru Nakamura / no-input mixing board
Taku Sugimoto / acoustic guitar, preparations
Mark Wastell / violoncello, preparations, contact mic, amplifier
Recorded live in concert at Offsite, Yoyogi, Tokyo on January 19th, 2002 by Taku Sugimoto.
Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC
1. First Fold - 28:05
2. Second Fold - 29:26
"One of the more accessible of avant-garde guitarists, Akiyama eschews linearity in extreme degrees, and when removed from familiar progressions, his playing evokes a distinct sense of discomfort. Melody and rhythm are left begging here, unrequited in the face of such slurred dynamics… Sometimes delicately and sometimes boldly, he controls sound volumes ranging from micro to macro, in an attempt to convert the body into an electronic entity.". - Michael Crumsho
Taku Sugimoto is an extremely restrained guitarist who produces very few sounds in performance - allowing silence to be the controlling force. As an improviser and composer, he's garnered international acclaim, and also provoked strong reactions, both positive and negative. He likes to play a lot of chess.
Mark Wastell has been active as a musician since 1995, making his initial concerts with the trio IST featuring Rhodri Davies and Simon H. Fell. He has performed and recorded extensively and has collaborated with the likes of Derek Bailey, John Butcher, Evan Parker, Lasse Marhaug, John Tilbury, Mattin, Mark Sanders, Tony Conrad, Tim Barnes, Bernhard Günter, Keith Rowe, John Zorn, Peter Kowald, Joachim Nordwall, Otomo Yoshihide, Burkhard Beins, Paul Dunmall, David Toop, Alan Wilkinson, Max Eastley, Hugh Davies, Julie Tippetts and David Sylvian. Mark also runs the Confront Recordings record label.
"Nakamura's instrument of choice - the no-input mixing board – may sound forbidding, as if its output would sound more machine than music. But for over a decade, Nakamura has cultivated a world of tones from this unlikely instrument, both harsh and mesmerizing, humanist and expansive – with something to lure in music fans of any stripe." - Samdhisound