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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

An Ambient Monolith

5 hours of bliss from Saito Koji

20130317-saitokojiIt might seem that the manner in which ambient music seeps into the background, the way it often rouses little in the way of an emotional reaction, nor is necessarily intended to, might mean that it is best experienced in small amounts, in tiny portions commensurate with its remote, modest, economical stature. But the opposite might also be the case, as evidenced by Yes, the massive new collection by Saito Koji. The press materials for the album explain that the collection, downloadable for free, is no less than five hours in length: “16 titles with a duration of 4:33 minutes each and five long forms with 39 minutes to 48 minutes.” It is rare that I write about anything at Disquiet.com without having listened to it several times, but in this case I made an exception. Despite having only dipped a pinkie toe in its vast expanse thus far, I highly recommend Koji’s immersive wonder.

What follows are but two examples of how the album’s overall sensibility of grey-flanel white noise takes on a different affect with each succsssive track. The “Yes 7” track has the vibrations of an oscillator designed to communicate with insect life (MP3). The “Yes 11” track sounds like a guitar being slowly strummed during an intensely tone-attentive pre-concert sound check (MP3). These two are among the 16 on Yes that have John Cage”“ian length of 4’33”.

[audio:http://www.archive.org/download/rb117/07-Yes_7.mp3|titles=”Yes 7″|artists=Saito Koji] [audio:http://www.archive.org/download/rb117/11-Yes_11.mp3|titles=”Yes 11″|artists=Saito Koji]

More on the release at the netlabel that produced it, restingbell.net, where the full set is available for free download.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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