Concession / Tomonari Nozaki - Forwind
Uniting three EPs released earlier this year and an exclusive track, Triptych is for now the definitive album from Tomonari Nozaki. Despite its status of “compilation”, we sense here an osmosis we could hardly apprehend through three separate minis evoking beliefs, decline and compromise. These are now unfolded between dusty harmonies and frequential tumult tirelessly sewing, unsewing, and sewing back again their links beset by precious analogic accidents and others imperceptible temporal slidings so dear to the artist, just like the eternity was hidden behind these restrained loops. An escape through somnolence, a bath of immortal light, the inexhaustible and vain chase of an utopic ideal, a deep nostalgia of a revoked youth : as much depictions and feelings for as much tracks, who share the same story unified by a foggy production based on tape loops, and shake the canvas of existence through the rumble of low frequencies. Especially climaxing in Concession II that makes you feel like you’re boarding a space shuttle in the purest old-school sci-fi way, surrounded by the epicness of organs and choirs until the final roar of the reactor, Triptych could be an allegory of life, of its glistening shards and its transversal fractures, of its inevitable routines as its dreams feeding the rage to exist, of its priceless fragments of innocence but also others profoundly melancholic, so necessary to cherish our most beautiful hours to their rightful value.
Il était temps qu’on parle de Triptych, ou plus exactement des pièces qui le composent. Rassemblant les six morceaux répartis sur trois EPs parus en début d’année chez les britanniques de Forwind, cette anthologie est le second LP de Tomonari Nozaki à voir le jour chez eux, après un North Palace déjà très délicieux (et un détour par Invisible Birds avec Une Histoire de Bleu, dont je ne dirai décidément jamais assez de bien). Chercheur confidentiel de répétitions imparfaites et trouveur génial de boucles magnétiques qui visent juste, le nippon se situe pour moi dans la lignée d’un William Basinski en puissance, la notoriété et l’exposition en moins. Mais c’est pas grave, car Tartine est là pour parler de musiques que personne n’écoute.
Avec une liste de lecture respectant scrupuleusement l’ordre établi par les EPs Credence, Decadence et Concession, Triptych pourrait très bien se résumer sur le papier à son statut de recueil, n’apportant rien de plus aux auditeurs qu’un objet unique pour trois sorties séparées. Pourtant, sans parler du morceau de clôture inédit (on y reviendra), cette nouvelle union des différentes approches émotionnelles préalables crée une osmose difficile à appréhender auparavant, transformant l’album en un nectar encore plus succulent qu’il n’aurait dû l’être. Croyances, déclin puis compromis se déplient entre harmonies poussiéreuses et tumultes fréquentiels, cousent, décousent et recousent inlassablement leurs liens en proie aux précieux accidents analogiques et autres glissements temporels imperceptibles si chers à l’artiste (dont vous pourrez en apprendre plus à travers son interview donnée il y a quelques mois), et sont sublimés dans cet album à part entière qui chante l’éternité cachée derrière ses boucles restreintes.
Au début, on restera malgré tout tenté de scruter les morceaux un par un à la loupe, tant leurs procédés narratifs diffèrent : voyage entre des nappes aurales envoûtantes, chœurs hypnagogiques nés de l’autre côté du miroir, course perpétuelle d’un train sur un anneau de Möbius ou mélodies de piano chavirées sur les rivages du temps pourront consécutivement suggérer l’évasion dans la somnolence, un bain de lumière immortelle (avec une partie pseudo-rythmique qui marque joliment le coup en milieu d’album), la chasse à la fois infatigable et vaine d’un idéal utopique ou la profonde nostalgie d’une enfance révolue. Cependant, une prise de recul révélera la volonté de Tomonari Nozaki à écrire une seule histoire partagée en sept chapitres, unifiés par une méthode de production analogique qui distille sur l’horizon un brouillard propre aux bandes magnétiques et secoue les trames de l’existence par le grondement des basses fréquences. Triptych semble être une allégorie de la vie, de ses éclats aveuglants et de ses fractures transverses, de ses routines inévitables tout comme de ses rêves qui alimentent la rage d’exister, de ses fragments d’innocence inestimables mais aussi d’autres profondément mélancoliques, tellement nécessaires pour affectionner à leur juste valeur nos plus belles heures.
Jusqu’à ce que vienne enfin (dans la trilogie initiale) le moment immuable du grand départ avec Concession II, qui n’aurait pas pu s’intégrer autrement à l’œuvre qu’en conclusion : d’abord, des strates d’orgues successives s’amplifient mutuellement pour orienter le regard vers les astres, avant que des chœurs mystiques ne les rejoignent et nous encouragent finalement à sauter le pas pour rejoindre le prochain arrêt dans un autre monde plein de promesses. Le réacteur assourdissant d’une fusée virtuelle se met alors en marche, faisant résonner la piste en des proportions absolument épiques dignes d’un film de SF old-school, et nous élevant avec elle vers un inconnu qui ne nous effraie désormais plus, mais qu’on embrasse comme un ami qu’on a attendu depuis toujours. Sacrée taloche acoustique, à placer sans hésiter parmi les plus beaux extraits du genre. Bien que je l’estime comme la finalité parfaite d’une montée en puissance paroxystique patiemment construite depuis 55 minutes, un morceau supplémentaire intitulé Coda ferme la marche de Triptych sur une note bien plus éthérée et mystérieuse, subtilement incertaine, dont les saveurs et les couleurs évoquent une vision d’artiste du paradis imaginaire maintenant atteint, fluctuant, rassurant, intimidant. Pour moi moins pertinent que Concession II comme final, cet épilogue exclusif n’en sera pas moins une superbe fresque du côté obscur de la lune, autorisant une sortie tout en douceur de la bulle où le japonais nous a enfermé 70 minutes durant.
Entre sensibilité débridée et méthodes de production poussées dans leurs retranchements, Tomonari Nozaki ajoute un autre chef d’œuvre à sa discographie presque exempte de défauts, faisant passer sa lumière et la notre dans un prisme en cristal afin d’en détailler toutes les nuances. C’est très beau, et c’est forcément conseillé.
Le digital et un joli digipak en édition limitée sont tous les deux disponibles sur le Bandcamp du label.
This stunning EP series is tied together thematically by the art of Jakob Brondum. His swirling paints produce a sense of synaesthesia that is reflected in the music. We asked for a physical release, and lo! late in the year, one appeared. The new cover art combines elements of all three preceding EPs, another artistic triumph. (Richard Allen)
When I was approached by the art director from Forwind Publishing about a collaboration involving my work, I became intrigued as I set about trying to understand the music of Tomonari Nozaki.
To me his music is very cinematic and I kept imagining scenes and situations. The music itself creates images. It is story telling, and I feel that that is what I do with my paintings also.
triptychMy paintings are huge canvasses which tend to be of people and human related situations. With the lengthy sequences of the music and the tones, the album became a more abstract form of story telling than what I normally paint. I collaborated with Forwind’s Hannes and Shane as we selected paintings and began to dissect each individual painting by photographing the large canvases up close.
During this process my personal story telling became less about actual motifs but more about the use of colours and different medias.
I feel that the final result reflects that our story telling hit a common abstract ground where it is explorative, new and vibrant.
We used three snippets from different paintings for each of Tomonari’s EPs, and for the final compilation Hannes digitally layered all three on top of each other, and thereby created a whole new story line to go with the album. It is a very powerful image and hopefully conveys the intensity and perfect cinematic mood that the album oozes. (Jakob Brondum)
[CREDENCE / DECADENCE / CONCESSION Reviews]
The whole is re-imagined into a dish fit to set before Basinski buffs and Hecker checkers. The series’ sheer sweep sees Nozaki’s sound gather in sono-dramatic force, cementing detail, texture and integration of its parts.
Tomonari Nozaki seemed to spring from nowhere fully formed with his debut, North Palace, a couple of years back. The Japanese ambient/warm noise artist’s ‘abstract sound projections and melodies using destruction techniques discovered with reel to reel tape-loop splicings and other analogue romanticisms’ (here), with their strategic saturation and designer disintegration, spoke volumes, without volume, of decay and loss. Alert igloo viewers will have registered his Histoire de Bleu for Invisible Birds, but Credence is his first for Forwind since, with Decadence and Concession close behind, making an EP trilogy, each triplet divided in two.
Credence serves as series keynote, prefiguring a wide ambit of formations–post-classical expressionism, neo-romanticist excesses, all tempered with lo-fi minimalism, smeared and bespeckled with ambient noise. “Pt. 1” presents a slow mutating sound field with dense morphing layers of electro-acoustics and post-industrial thrum against a saturated sonic sky fluctuating in intensity until oceanic closure. “Pt. 2” deviates slightly from style template, with gauzy slivers running through ambient grain, as if rain below leaking into underground machinery. Decadence picks up the thematic trajectory with “Pt. 1” setting out from sacral foothills in a wide-sky ascent through a grained mezzanine of distortion; solemn drone cedes to a disintegrative wind; it tells of serenity and decay. “Pt. 2” ups the ante, unravelling concrète into a kinetic tract reconciling hushed ambient noise, rhythmic detritus and ecstatic drone; angelic vocalizations looped and treated, strange devices whirling somewhere. In the end all is swept away, fragile and mechanical alike–a desolate rumble. Concession signs off the series with further aperture of sonic spectrum, “Pt. 1” programmes in piano; hints at haunted micro-sonata, maximum sum from parts, binaries stylistic (expressionist<->minimalist) and affective (delighted<->doleful) dissolved. “Pt. 2” is a fitting closure–folding layers of ethereal sound waves, caustic timbres and off-grid rhythms into a steepling climax. In the end, the vortex sucks in all that is–cathedral tones and chorales buried beneath chthonic drones. Leaving just vestiges… echoes of what once was.
The whole is re-imagined into a dish fit to set before Basinski buffs and Hecker checkers. The series’ sheer sweep sees Nozaki’s sound gather in sono-dramatic force, cementing detail, texture and integration of its parts.
Credence, Decadence and Concession are available on forwind [FWD12|FWD13|FWD14]
by ALAN LOCKETT
It’s been a while since we last heard about this ambient musician from Tokyo. I loved his “Une Histoire De Bleu” album, released by Invisible Birds, so I was rather curious about what he’s up to on this EP trilogy: “Credence”, “Decadence”, “Concession”. The first one was released on February, the consecutive ones in March. I’m not actually sure why, because when we sum up the length of all the tracks, they could easily fit in one CD and could be treated as one full length album, divided in chapters. It reminds me of the Telltale Games series which is also divided in parts (or “episodes”) and each of them is released in a sometimes more, sometimes less constant period of time. Ok, enough of these bizarre references; let’s take a look at the music.
The EPs contain two tracks each, always entitled “Pt. 1” and “Pt. 2”. “Credence” begins with subtly pulsating electronics that sound a bit like a piano, slightly treated by reverb and hidden behind an analogue haze. It’s a quiet and warm opening, yet in the back of your head you feel that it’s somehow uneasy, as if awaiting for a storm. And yes, in time this track fluctuates on various levels of intensity, to finally become an immersive and emotionally absorbing construction of sounds which remind me of the “Limbo” game (I know, another videogame reference). What I like is the sound which is covered by an analogue blanket, and the fact that Tomonari is not afraid to leave tiny mistakes and glitches in the final mixing (like for example this equilibrium disturbance at 10:05). I always say, it gives a human face to the music. To me it’s very important. The following track sounds a bit more humid – under the drone texturing there’s something like artificial rain, later replaced by the machinery steadily operating somewhere on the back, while the foreground is getting more and more intense.
I feel a sacral peace, in this “Decadence” opening. It reminds me of a summer morning in an empty church and the sunlight crackling on a stained glass window. But as the title suggests the thing gets more decadent later, the solemn drone gives a place to a noisy and windy tapestry that sounds like guitar feedback coming from a distance. Again, the impurities of the sound give the impression of decaying serenity. “Pt. 2” of “Decadence” is most likely my favourite track of the whole trilogy, as it is based on contrasts: the angelic vocalized sounds looped and treated with delay effects, like taken from some Bvdub album, are here confronted with some strange device turning and whirling with no beginning, end nor purpose. There’s no winner in this fascinating duel between the fragile and the mechanical, because in the final conclusion it’s all swept away by the rumbling sound of the wasteland echoes.
Warm and ethereal sound waves welcome us on the last installment of the trilogy. A piano loop calms down the listener, but the clicks and tiny sound imperfections keep you alert – you feel that any second now the composition may explode with emotions or drown in decay. Nothing happens though, except for the introduction of more synth parts that strengthen the feeling of an overwhelming yet glitchy melancholy. It’s still like the calm before the storm. This comes with the final chapter of “Concession” and the whole trilogy. Epic organ structures may remind one of Tim Hecker, since they’re as massive as they are captivating and epic. In the end, the apocalyptic vortex sucks everything that stands in its way: solemn, cathedral tones, intense drones and choir-like parts hidden down below. We’re left with sound reflections of what once was.
Each part of the trilogy complements the two others – there are elements that appear on all of them, but the pressure is always put on a different element. I think the Japanese musician managed to succeed in this ambitious undertaking and his symphony of sublime withering is something that you should check out for yourself.
Tomonari Nozaki‘s brilliant triple EP series has been unfolding over the course of three months. Now that the series is complete, we can step back and appreciate its overall tapestry. When combined, the parts total 62:16 and form a singular vision; the unified cover art (by Jakob Brondum) adds to the appeal. We have high hopes for a physical release featuring all three.
Credence is such a subtle work that one needs to turn it up in order to notice the nuances. On the surface, this is ambient music, but with a more intricate lattice than one might observe at softer volumes. “Pt. I” is a slow-growing setpiece that borders on drone, with higher frequencies adding a sense of yearning to the mix. Late in the piece, one begins to detect the light tape wobble: apparent at 8:33 and 8:50, faint at 9:02, obvious at 10:06 ~ keep this in mind, as it will be important later. The second part is a bit crunchier, like waves on fine gravel. A drum loop implies the passing of a locomotive. Together, the pieces imply slow construction: mapping, measuring, building.
FWD13_front_cover_800x800Decadence begins with the wobble, displaying the artist’s trump card. This tiny reveal enables one to see inside the recording. In this installment, the drone is more apparent, spreading early in “Pt. I” (no original titles here!); the tag calls it “warm noise,” which sounds just about right. While the drone never quite bursts the boundaries of the speakers, it does nudge the needle to the red. The cover colors are more diverse, reflecting a wider palette and richer hues. By the launch of the second part, the timbre shifts again, purposefully wandering in the direction of modern composition. Mulched orchestral echoes imply brass, strings and even a scissor. As whorls of sound begins to develop, they push the listener into a more alert state. This is background music no more.
FWD14_front_cover_800x800The trilogy concludes ~ as it should ~ with its finest part. On Concession, the influence of modern composition is front and center. The organ tones and sonic surge that close “Decadence Pt. II” are met by vinyl crackle and piano in “Concession Pt. I”. Had this extended work not been released piece-by-piece, one might not have been able to appreciate such differences, or the way each part of the triptych leads to, and is fulfilled by, the next. Yet even this is mere prelude to the closer. If this were a movie, “Pt. II” would be the scene that justifies the ticket. Remember that wobble? It’s there at the end of the first part, and subsumed in the second by dramatic strings reminiscent of Nikolai Rimsky- Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee”. These are met by slower, darker organ tones, which offset the former by introducing a sense of grandeur. When listening to this piece, one begins to make connections to earlier pieces, reevaluating them as prelude and foreshadow. And now the tapestry is complete. Every step has been important, but the destination ~ this piece ~ is the payoff. Tomonari Nozaki is to be congratulated for his composition, but Forwind is to be congratulated for its patience ~ the slow reveal created a sense of anticipation, which was rewarded with a stellar finale. (Richard Allen)
A set of three EP’s by Tomonori Nozaki, formerly UNKNOWNjp. Together the music would’ve easily fitted on a single CD but this is clearly aimed ad the vinyl-loving audience that can appreciate great artwork when they see it (created by Jakob Brondum and Hannes Jentsch)
Six abstract drones (around 12 minutes each for Credence, and 9 minutes for Decadence, 7/11 minutes on Concession) that slowly build to a noisy climax before slowly retreating again to a final closing chord.
“Dense layers of sound, morphing acoustics and chugging industrial rhythms, all while keeping his distinctive and much loved tape recorded sonics hissing and gestating away.”
Mastered by Denis Blackman, using his experience with Merzbow, Philip Jeck, Coil, Cocteau Twins and Zoviet France “to ensure the analogue epics sound their most powerful without resorting to the overly compressed ear wearing aproach that makes so many modern listens a tiring experience”.
Tomonori Nozaki uses old analog reel-to-reel gear and cherishes its imperfections and slow degradation: so the dropouts you hear at some moments are intentional (no need to check your system).
[Ethereal Sounds of Emotion:The Lush, Mysterious Music of Tomonari Nozaki]
There’s not much information to be found about artist Tomonari Nozaki, the enigmatic and mysterious Japanese musician behind Soleil. But one need not look far for clues as the music he makes speaks volumes about his inspiration. According to the fragments of Nozaki’s hyper-minimalist biography you can find spattered across a handful of equally soft-spoken websites that have some sort of loose connection to his work, his music occupies the space between “liminality” and “the sublime”, which is about as accurate of a description as I’ve ever heard.
But it’s pretty clear what’s going on here: Nozaki wants it to be about the music, not the musician. He’s not in this for fame. He’s in this to share his beautiful slice of reality with the world. And clearly, we have much to learn from the depth of experience of this man.
Nozaki’s music is intensely lush and emotional—listening to it you can’t help but be lulled into some sort of lucid daydream that floats you off into distant worlds, evoking primal feelings of peace, joy, and love. That’s a big statement, I know, but I really can’t think of anything that more accurately describes the beauty of this music. The subtly evolving ambient textures are an acquired taste, but only because they’re so starkly different to the vast majority of formulaic music we hear in our day to day lives.
This is part of the beauty of Nozaki’s work. It’s incredibly and undeniably unique in the most gorgeous way. It is literally feeling translated into sound and, as far as I’m concerned, that is the mark of a musical genius. Sure, there is a cerebrally appealing quality to most music, but let’s be honest, we listen to it because of the way it makes us feel. And in that sense, Nozaki is a master composer. Mysterious, silent, sublime.
by JUSTIN FAERMAN
Tomonari Nozaki (aka UNKNOWNjp) and EUS (one of several projects of Jose Acuña) partnered to release this sumptuous 4 track album. EUS offers his original mix of ‘Sol Levit’, which appeared on his October 2013 release of the same title, and Nozaki offers his previously unreleased ‘Adansonia’ and then each remixes the other work. EUS brings to the table his dark ambient and rich melancholic undertones and Nozaki his cinematic, nearly effusive romanticism. The two are seamless merged through the warm analog medium of reel-to-reel tape and the end result is as absorbing and as emotionally resonant as ambient music can be. This is generously provided as a free download. I strongly recommend you grab it while you can.
Sites like bandcamp are brilliant, because they give a home to previously unknown artists and are a goldmine for discovering new music. UNKNOWNjp is a great example of this. His music reminds me a little of Black Swan's, combining beautiful orchestration and heavy tape saturation, giving this brittle yet undeniably powerful sound stage. The whole album is brilliant, but the final track in particular is quite mesmerising.
[Une Histoire de Bleu Reviews]
Prefacing the four, quarter-hour “chapters” of Tomonari Nozaki’s Une histoire de bleu are one hundred and sixty four seconds of ocean waves lapping at an empty beach. Or it could be the never-ending storm on top of Saturn. And it could be made out of surging static electricity. Either way, it is an irenic head-clearer with which to allow his story of blue to unfold. Its description as “abstract sound projections and melodies using destruction techniques discovered with reel to reel tape-loop splicings and other analogue Romanticisms” immediately calls (or shouts) to mind the work of William Basinski and his disintegration loops, and there certainly is shared ground in reaching for the sublime through retrogression.
Like Basinski, Nozaki succeeds magnificently, though without having his tapes dandruff into obscurity in the making, even though they do occasionally and artfully fail. The first chapter of Une histoire de bleu has that classic, far-away Brian Eno sway, while the second is ghostly and desolate as Rapoon. The third chapter has an orchestra sweep, a deep pathos, a cozy autumnal sadness. It is reminiscent of one of the rolling, pastoral landscapes of Andrew Deutsch’s Loops Over Land, just as it leans toward Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” “Chapter Four” recalls Basinski with the greatest clarity, graceful and ever falling, ever falling.
Five möbius strips curving into ambient eternity.
ENG: In any film, you’ll come across one or perhaps two moments where the director’s vision burns right out of the celluloid and into your mind. Depending on how effective the said director is at integrating those beats into the rest of the proceedings will determine how good of a production you’re watching. These fleeting, frozen frames are elusive at the very best and illusory at worst. Tomonari Nozaki has, with his album, made the auditory equivalent of a movie that is nothing but those intensely smoldering cinematic yearnings. Each second is an expansive, intuitive descent into what makes our blood curdle, boil and run cold all at once.
Une Histoire de Blue is a profoundly sad, forlorn piece of work. Each chapter a series of regrets, every thunderous wave which breaks upon your ears is a lamentation. What once was, what could have been, where things stand now, the one who never requited what was given them. I hear this kind of artistry rarely in my line of work, it is all too easy to just thrown down a couple layers of formless drone then tinker in a few random noises and call it good. But this release here contains fully- formed, extremely articulate compositions where the field recordings flow imperceptibly into what Nozaki has channeled out of his machinery
Loss is the main arena Nozaki is working within, all of his sounds and structures contain a slowly decaying core; the soundtrack of a satellite descending out of orbit with the lifeless, inert crew forever frozen in place at their stations. Watching. Waiting. Wailing. I cannot help but come away from hearing this with a very heavy heart. The tantalized memories of one person’s understanding of what the color blue can mean. Is this in reference to the film? I could not tell you but the sense of cataclysm and sudden rupture from life are undeniable. We may have both a meditation on all the different meanings of what it is to exist in this realm and also an alternate score to a movie which was easily the strongest act to a three film epic that resonates to this day.
No matter, however, let us return to what Mr. Nozaki has given us. It is described as an excursion into the sublime, which is pretty close to the mark. There are much much more than simple synonymic anagrams going on within these four chapters (the four stages of life? the four cycles of civilization? the four seasons on the calendar?)I’ll leave that with the listeners fortunate enough to hear this… for me they are four exquisitely designed, shape-shifting takes on the very nature of reality. Everything is transitory, this will give you something to hold on to.
PL: W każdym filmie natrafić można na jeden albo dwa momenty, kiedy wizja reżysera przepływa z taśmy celuloidowej wprost do naszego umysłu. Umiejętność reżysera scalania tych ulotnych fragmentów z resztą filmu determinuje jak dobra jest produkcja, którą właśnie oglądasz. Te zwiewne, zatrzymane klatki filmowe w najlepszym przypadku bywają nieuchwytne, w najgorszym iluzoryczne. Płyta Tomonari Nozakiego to dźwiękowy ekwiwalent filmu, właśnie takiej intensywnie się tlącej kinowej tęsknoty. Każda sekunda to ekspansywne, lecz również intuicyjne zejście w stronę tego czegoś, co sprawia, że nasza krew się ścina, gotuje i zamarza jednocześnie.
Une Histoire de Blue to głęboko smutne, rozpaczliwe wręcz dzieło. Każdy rozdział to seria rozczarowań, każda grzmiąca fala, która przetacza się przez uszy jest w istocie lamentem. Co było kiedyś, co mogło być, na czym teraz stoję, co nie zostało oddane. Rzadko słucham tego rodzaju artystycznej ekspresji, bo to zbyt łatwe, wrzucić kilka warstw bezkształtnych dronów, pomajstrować potem przy nich przypadkowymi hałasami i uznać, że to jest dobre. Ale to wydawnictwo zawiera w pełni ukształtowane, konkretnie wyrażone kompozycje, w których nagrania terenowe niepostrzeżenie wplywają w to, co Nozaki wyciąga ze swojej maszynerii.
Przegrana jest areną, na której operuje Nozaki, wszystkie jego dźwięki i struktury zawierają powoli rozkładający się rdzeń; soundtrack dla satelity zstępującej z orbity, z martwą, bezwładną załogą na zawsze zamrożoną w miejscu jej stacjonowania. Obserwując. Czekając. Łkając. Słucham tego z ciężkim sercem i nic nie mogę na to poradzić. To dręczące wspomnienie prób zrozumienia przez pewną osobę jakie jest znaczenie koloru niebieskiego. Czy to odniesienie do filmu? Tego wam nie powiem, ale poczucie swego rodzaju kataklizmu, nagłego przerwania linii życia jest tu niezaprzeczalne. Możemy tę płytę traktować zarówno jako medytację nad tym jak egzystować w tym królestwie, jak i alternatywną ścieżką dźwiękową do pewnego filmu będącego najmocniejszym punktem pewnej epickiej trylogii, która oglądana jest i dyskutowana do dnia dzisiejszego.
Nieważne, wróćmy do tego, co podarował nam pan Nozaki. Określono to jako podróż w wysublimowane, co generalnie jest dość bliskie prawdy. W tych czterech rozdziałach dzieje się o wiele więcej, niż może się wydawać (cztery etapy życia? cztery cykle cywilizacji? cztery pory roku?). Zostawiam to słuchaczom, którzy będą mieli szczęście zapoznać się z tą muzyką… dla mnie to cztery wspaniale zaprojektowane, zmieniające kształt ujęcia jądra natury rzeczywistości. Wszystko przemija, ale dzięki tej muzyce będziecie mieli się czego trzymać.
According to the website of Invisible Birds, “mr. nozaki has beginnings in minimal techno and experimental music, and after a slight pause from music, has returned in 2012 with some transcendental experimentations into the rarely visited places of “liminality” and “the sublime”.” I am not sure, but this might be my first encounter with his music. The music here is announced as
“abstract sound projections & melodies using destruction techniques discovered with reel to reel tape-loop splicings and other analogue romanticisms”, which is actually not far from the truth. Not the reel to reel thing, as that is not easy to check upon, but the romantic aspect of the music. I was thinking there is some classical music on those tapes, as a kind of residue (maybe he got the ones from dear departed father?), which he loops around and by adding sound effects makes them a bit more alienated. It reminds me of Jorge Mantis’ The Beautiful Schizophonic with its looped classical music from the 19th century – the romantic era in that music. Occasionally there is a hiccup which I couldn’t figure to be a glitch in the tape, the stretching of samples (so, maybe it includes computers?), or the burning to CDR? These four long and one short pieces work very fine on a grey day: stretched out fields of sounds, passing like slow clouds in the sky, with the occasional crackle being the summer rain drop. Dark but full of hope and light.
Music by Thomas Bel has found its way to here before – see Vital Weekly 663 – when I thought he hadn’t found his own voice yet. Now, a few years later, I hear something new from him, a work that was originally recorded live June 21st 2011 – which is actually exactly two years ago from the day this was written – but ‘re-arranged and edited’ in May of this year. It’s one long piece, of thirty-three minutes and thirty-three seconds, and it sounds like an outdoor concert: rain is pouring down (no doubt on tape and not live), while Bel plays his guitar in a very minimal way. I never know – not being a guitarist myself – if this actually played, or one of those loop devices, but it’s surely very minimal with a bunch of small changes. As the piece evolves there is the addition of some feedback like sounds, and the guitar – now indeed looped – doubles and triples. Blues music? Yes, it could be. It has that dark, laidback Americana blues feeling of desperation and solitude, even when it’s brought to a mighty crescendo in which all air is sucked into the sound effects before its escape towards the end. A fine good solid piece, as dark perhaps as the Nozaki one, but with less light and more despair. In both cases: if you like Machinefabriek or William Basinski, then this is surely worth checking out. (FdW)
[North Palace Reviews]
There are occasions when music is not the best, but the only viable form of communication. The latest release on the forwind label is from their furthest flung producer – the emerging Tokyo based composer and produced Tomonari Nozaki. North Palace is his debut physical release, after a series of digital only pieces on the Slovak label Soun Records, under the alias of UNKNOWKNjp.
But what is the North Palace? I contacted forwind to ask for more information on the work, but apparently the language barrier ensured that Nozaki couldn’t describe the influences adequately. He sent pictures to best convey his influences and answer the label’s questions. This all adds to the rather mysterious and cloaked nature of the release; a distant artist, producing music that can’t be described by words, only through sound and images.
In which case, we’re only left with the music to represent the North Palace, for which Nozaki uses a hazy collage of dark drones and barely audible static. It unfurls and grows in a very organic manner, like a flower in the first fits of spring, breaking through the rough harsh ground and expanding into the light. Split into five parts, each feels like a separate theme, a hymn to a different part of the “North Palace”, whatever that may be. The rather mystical background to the album would suggest that the Palace is something unique, perhaps created from Nozaki’s memory and the music thus reflects a patchwork of remembered ideas combining to create a fictionalised locale. The slowness of these pieces could be said to reflect the process of recalling memory, of thinking back to specific details that are now clouded and have become too difficult to remember fully. There’s a religious feel to ‘Part II’ and ‘Part III’, as if you’re working through a cathedral or gothic palace, the high stone ceilings allowing the undulating tones to take on a rather church organ sound.
What I’ve found most striking about North Palace is its way of isolating the listener from the real world. As the music plays I find myself drifting away, shutting my eyes and letting Nozaki’s Palace surround me and pervert my senses. This is driven by the uplifting tones – the rolling and swelling of the music actively encouraging you to get lost, to submit to it. Regardless of whether this palace is fabricated or not, you’ll still want to be locked within.
Right from the very beginning there is a palpable sense of inward bleakness that shrouds North Palace. Echoes of musical shapes swirl behind clouds of white noise, stark and slippery, forever sinking away into the formless chasm that surrounds them.
It took me a few listens to get into this record. The use of noise to put distance between the music and its listener is one we’ve become accustomed to in recent years, but rarely do we find this technique pushed to the extremes found on North Palace. What starts as a gentle hiss obscuring the submerged harmonies later becomes so thick as to engulf them completely; the melancholy is so cold that to try and sit down to listen to it purposefully seems woefully pointless. Better instead to wait until accident catches you in just the right mood, and in just the right circumstance. In short, I get the sense that the depths of North Palace are the kind you need to sink into, rather than plunge into.
In the middle of the album – Track III – the smooth top end static of the earlier tracks is replaced by the warmer sound of crackling vinyl. What didn’t occur to me the first few times I listened to it is that all this lo-fi treatment serves a conceptual purpose in addition to its textural one. We hear the click of a record run to the end of its groove but still revolving: the sound that’s left when all other sounds have finished, without anyone there to tell it to stop. This slight recontextualisation of the source sound is what opened the album up for me; the sudden giving way of the formless white to a lonely image – of the abstract to the concrete – making visible what should have been obvious all along: that North Palace is all about pathos. Forgetting for a moment the near motionless minimalism at work here, each track maps out with smudged drones and piano a song of its own, always somewhere on the line between tragedy and optimism.
I’m reminded of the techniques of anamorphosis used by medieval painters: the distortion or stretching of images so that they could only be seen from certain angles or perspectives. The aim was to delay revelation, to force the onlooker to spend time looking for the deeper pictures among the more obvious surface features. This release from Tomonari Nozaki does something I think is similar. Getting inside it is a process of stripping away levels of clutter in the mind, approaching a realisation that this is quite simply a collection of sad, elegant tracks, that they need not be any more than that, and moreover that they are left all the more beautiful by the work required in uncovering them.
North Palace (Forwind) is the sound of ambient drift and temporal collapse, carried through the white noise of a light-weighted needle tracking a phonograph groove at slow speed. We hardly need to be told that Tokyo-based producer Tomonari Nozaki produced this music on “old reel to reel tape units and analogue equipment”.
North Palace is a suite of five pieces. “Part I” is aeolian siren sound drifting through audio-mnemonic mist, soft detonations punctuating the lulling ambient scurf. Gradually, through ten minutes of elemental accretion, it builds and breaks as a rolling wave.
A nostalgia-evoking shimmer of pianistic harmonics ripples through the sound-mote static of “Part II”. The effect is muzzy and narcotic. On “Part III”, the riffle of a locked groove mixes with a melancholic whorl of reverberant organ in cavernous headspace. Traces of spectral choristry merge with the sense impression of an orchestra on “Part IV”. There’s an unusual point of dislocation before the end, where sound-clouds part to reveal dry, rodent-on-cardboard scratching sounds. It’s only a fleeting event; a nice touch.
You may have encountered similar soundscapes before: venturing into Thomas Koner’s liminal arctic zones; accompanying Gavin Bryar’s Titanic into a cold, crepuscular aquatic void; meditating within the cathedrals of Philip Jeck’s stacked Dansette installations; losing yourself in the entropy of William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops. But North Palace doesn’t sound derivative; it’s nicely realised, thoughtfully structured, concise and richly detailed.
“Part V” could be the noise of a music-free acetate played on an entropic, time-slowed loop; except there are lacunae in the playback, like the temporal glitches produced by slack tape. That’s probably, albeit deliberate, what they are.
Given the loaded, romantic appeal of pre-aged audio, and the audibility of process that’s so integral to any such acid-washed music, it’s ironic that North Palace could (perhaps) only be mediated effectively on CD/in cold digital. The vinyl edition of Basinski’s Disintegration Loops proposes the continuation of a process of creation through attrition, but we need the pink noise of a CD to reveal the assiduous detail in the weave of these multiple-analogue soundscapes.
Hear for yourself: there’s a five minute sampler mix for the album on Soundcloud.
North Palace is Nozaki’s first release in any hard format. It follows an EP and an album of ambient tape loops, issued on the Slovakian Soun Records label in digital-only format under the alias UNKNOWNjp.
about these places especially, dark, almost dirty, shadows gathered. come to discover beauty in shadows. the light from the garden; fragile, dying rays, avoid the failure to comprehend the mystery of shadows, and especially not to disturb the glow. listening to the murmur that penetrates, what lies within the darkness one cannot distinguish. the spell disappears from the dream world built by that strange light, what feeble light there was i could imagine. a part picked up by a faint light. water lines harmonize with and bury the wires. the beauty of the grain begins to emerge, left obscure, shrouded in a dusky haze. softness and warmth of the still dimmer light, the aura of depth and mystery. set out in the night, and recede into darkness. dreamlike glow that suffuses it.
(tanizaki - manipulated in praise of shadows)
From the first second i was stunt.
While usual browsing soundcloud i came across what i looking for months and months. Music got me by it's unique sounding like no others I've heard before.
Plangent and the same way melodic rising creating own little wonderland around it. Usually, music who has a similar sounding is either melancholic or just sad but the UnknownJP's pieces are floating around feeling and drags listener into this little sphere. Enigmatic.
Tracks itself is cross genre of drones, ambient, modern-classical and a bit of avant-garde. Strings and stretched vocals mixing with deep space drone vibes along the tracks while we able to hear something nostalgic-old...
Absolutely masterpiece. Best of this fall yet and now in my personally top 20.
Romantica was released on Slovakian soun records and available for digital download via bandcamp for only 6 euro.
©tomonari nozaki/UNKNOWNjp 2012-2018