Koji Asano

Rabbit Room Reservation Center

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After a certain lull, Koji Asano was due for a strong release of new music, and this is it. Rabbit Room Reservation Center deserves a place among his five best albums of sound art. It seems that the piano serves once again as the main sound source here, but electronic treatments overpower it completely, letting the acoustic instrument surface only sporadically. The album consists of three pieces of ten, 23, and 24 minutes, presented as movements or variations of a single work. "Rabbit Room Reservation Center I" exposes the material: piano notes shrouded in digital decay that gives birth to aural illusions. There is much room for silence and a certain majesty to the music. The second piece brings listeners down a couple of octaves, with the notes grainy gongs instead of small bells. A thicker soundscape emerges, but there is still a large element of spatialization, as if belfries were calling each other over a particularly echo-prone valley. The third piece pushes the transformation further, straight into harsh noise territory, the piano -- and its computerized bell/gong persona -- drowned out by the ripples of digital reverb. The sound swells up to the size of a full-fledged harsh noise band. The process underpinning the whole album may be simple, but Asano has obviously paid a lot of attention to the composition of these stark pieces. Don't pass this one by.

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