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Japanese Sonic Forensics

The Hyōgo-based Gaapiiiii explores the Elementary Particle

The Japan-based Gaapiiiii’s three-track set Elementary Particle likely takes its name from how the compositions focus on the reworking of a series of concise audio sources.

The central melodic snippet of “The Kingdom Which Was Lost” may or may not be a tiny sliver of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Edelweiss,” but its treatment here works in favor of the likelihood. The short bit is caught on a loop, a shard of Cold War radio set on repeat as if the remainder had been lost in transmission, and the surviving segment is treated to all manner of rescanning and forensics, eking out what sonic content can be located. By track’s end all that remains is just glitched-out vestigial noise. The melodic curiosity appears as well in “Strange Moment,” just before the track’s midpoint, surfacing out of muddily retuned percussion, and dissolving into murky static.

“Infinity of Feelings,” the third and final track on Elementary Particle, is roughly the length of the two previous in combination, and the extended play serves to make it all the more difficult — in a pleasurable way — to get a hold of, to wrestle with. It’s all the more ethereal, wispy, fragmentary, fleeting. Length here does not translate into density — quite the contrary. The most tangible moment is an acoustic guitar figure that takes form out of an initially rain-like sequence of percussive patterning. The guitar part is quite pretty, but what makes it memorable is how it came to be, how in its complete form it retains, for the listener, a memory of its earlier, hyper-particulate self. This is the case for all three tracks. Over the course of Elementary Particle Gaapiiiii trains your ear to stop listening for the source audio and to pay attention, instead, to the process.

Set originally posted at soundcloud.com/gaapiiiii. More from Gappiiiii, who is based in Hyōgo, Japan, at selfhelptapes.bandcamp.com, phinery.bandcamp.com, and fagashrecords.bandcamp.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • 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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