The two drones that comprise the equal halves of Saito Koji‘s Time / Line have this low-level buzz, this saw-tooth subtext, that keeps them from being ever fully capable of rendering themselves invisible. That isn’t to diminish the drone-ness of the pieces, and of the album as a whole. These are drones, thick, rich drones, with the heft of a milkshake and the gravitas of a sermon. They’re complementary more than similar, “Time” (MP3) starting off all ethereal-cloud-scape, before wandering into regressive loops of slightly off-kilter waveforms, and “Line” (MP3) just treble-y enough to veer toward a kind of subtle pain threshold.
The links above will go directly to the downloads for the individual MP3s, but because the two tracks, each at just over half an hour in length, make for a solid hour of listening, for this post’s streaming feature, I’m putting them together into one stream. (Note, though, that the little arrows allow you to move back and forth between the tracks.)
[audio:http://www.archive.org/download/rb053/01-Time.mp3,http://www.archive.org/download/rb053/02-Line.mp3|titles=”Time”,”Line”|artists=Saito Koji,Saito Koji]
Additional information at the releasing netlabel, restingbell.net.
5 hours of bliss from Saito Koji
It 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.
Saito Koji's eight-track album is meant to be heard as a whole.
The one track featured here is “Joy” off Saito Koji‘s recent album, Again, on the Resting Bell label. The album is eight tracks in all, each three minutes long, and all best experienced in sequence. The music is a series of exercises in restraint, thick washes of white noise and deep swells, all compacted and limited, so even, as with “Joy,” when they suggest something voluminous, they have a clear beginning, middle, and end — and the middle doesn’t last all that long. It’s not that they work better together, in sequences, because to say so would be to slight the composure and structure and tonality from which each track benefits. It’s just quite enticing how their steady passing, one after another, lends a sense of narrative to the proceedings, like a slide carousel of a holiday vacation in which all we see is a series of slightly-out-of-focus landscapes (MP3). Each track is just long enough to begin to consume the listener’s peripheral hearing before, flip, another begins to play.
Get the full album for free download at restingbell.net.
There were 38 posts on Disquiet.com in January 2012, and the most popular were as follows:
(1) a consideration of white noise in the work of Phil Julian (“A Variety of Noises, White and Otherwise”), (2) a “Sneak Peek at New Disquiet.com Project: Disquiet Junto,”, (3) the fuzzy beats of Would-Be Messiahs (“Hairshirt Industrial”), (4) a work for dual wind chimes by Josh Davison, aka Stringbot (“Chimes and More Chimes”), (5) Alarm Will Sound performing a syncopated work by Liza White (“When a Chamber Ensemble Sounds Like a Jazz Ensemble Sounds Like Breakbeat”), (6) a pair of tracks off Michal Jacaszek‘s Glimmer (Ghostly), (7) “Russian Post-Turntable Turntablism” by Mizontiq, and (8) “Sketch of a Drone / Drone as Sketch,” on a piece by Pacers that at times sounds like a church organ being tuned by an especially patient and exacting workman. Also: not (9) one but (10) two automated selections of what has happened in the previous week at twitter.com.disquiet.
The most popular searches (searches that didn’t yield null results) were: harold budd live, junto, autechre, best of 2010, In the Echo of No Towers, souns, mark harris, saito koji, Kahlen, weir, would-be messiahs, airport, brian eno, Carrie Underwood, compilations.
A new year calls for a stellar dawn, a gaping-maw drone that captures the power of change caught at its attenuated fulcrum, when night turns every so slowly into daylight. In other words, it calls for Saito Koji‘s Guide, his recent release on the estimable restingbell.net netlabel. The album contains eight drones, all slow as could be, and brief, too, keeping to under three minutes (not unlike the approach undertaken on the Instagr/am/bient compilation). There are occasional beats to be heard here, like the echoed presence of what sounds like a wooden stick rattling on a track titled “Saihate,” but otherwise this is music that locates the white-noise space between cicadas and church organs. And though the three-minute maximum length keeps the project as a whole moving, there are no admonitions against setting any one of them on loop. Here, by way of example, is “Peace,” which has a circulating melody that sounds like a bellow instrument, and a thick wash of what could be a nearby waterfall (MP3).
Get the full release from Fukushima, Japan”“born Koji at restingbell.net.