Rie Nakajima and Keiko Yamamoto are joined by violinist Billy Steiger and percussionist Marie Roux in a dozen deconstructions of Japanese folk music, for this pacy, engaging debut album. Rie’s baby orchestra of rice bowls, toys, clock workings, balloons and motors is by turns haunted, teased, adorned and laid waste by Keiko’s chanting, rumbling, whispering and stamping on the floor. The production by David ‘Flying Lizards’ Cunningham deepens and spooks the mix, which brims over with energy and wit, intimacy and presence, grace and mystery.
"Suddenly we are closer to music being made than we have been for many years or longer even, so alarmingly close as to feel warmth and discomfort, as if studying the sole of a foot from a few centimetres away or holding a private whisper within an enclosed hand and feeling its trembling desire to be free; but also so far away distant as to feel each vibrant, pungent ingredient within its box or jar or bowl or packet or bottle or air-tight translucent container or brown paper bag painstakingly stirred, shaken, scattered, poured into the heated cauldron of what we call recording, its imaginary rooms and its production, though my better self prefers not to speak about or analyse the notion of ‘the studio’, this being a working up of spaces that are social, a vision of something beyond us but not quite beyond us because its existence as a listening object is real enough to make us pause and question how it was lost or never found." - David Toop
Keiko Yamamoto / voice, melodica, flute, recorder, floor percussion, toy dog (1-7, 9-12)
Rie Nakajima / objects, whistles, flute, cards, taisho koto, xylophone, piano, abacus, drain horn (1-12)
Billy Steiger / violin (2,4,7-9,11,12)
Marie Roux / percussion, thumb piano (2,4,7,9,11,12)
All composition by Nakajima/Roux/Steiger/Yamamoto apart from Yobu, Hebi, Iroha, Kitsune and Are Kore (Nakajima/Yamamoto) and Futari (Nakajima/Steiger). Words by Yamamoto except 5 and 11. Iroha is a Japanese classical alphabet. Sojarobai is a working song from Miyazaki, Japan. Produced by David Cunningham. Cover image by Marie Roux. Sleeve design by Ayako Fukuuchi.
Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC
1. Yobu - 1:24
2. Oni - 5:01
3. Hebi - 1:29
4. Leave the Fur Behind - 5:53
5. Iroha - 4:22
6. Kitsune - 0:55
7. Komori - 7:12
8. Futari - 0:44
9. Banana - 5:06
10. Are Kore - 1:14
11. Sojarobai - 4:21
12. Nogitsune - 5:21
More info at Mana.
Formed of musician and artist Rie Nakajima, Cafe OTO co-founder Keiko Yamamoto, percussionist and photographer Marie Roux and violin player Billy Steiger, O Yama O explores a certain domestic and democratic quality of everyday life, born through associations to folk music of Japan and a folding of myth, tradition, and routine; the non-spectacular and the sublime. They move between pop and the philosophical, defined by the overall space afforded to texture and movement. In small, delicate sound an intimate musical climate is established that reflects on life, telling stories of improvised clockwork, whispered dreams, small movements of the hand and the rhythm to be found in the shuffle of a deck of cards.
The group have performed since 2014 at venues and festivals such as noshowspace, Ikon Gallery, Wysing Arts Centre, Supernormal, Borealis Festival, Mayhem, and allEars Festival.