Count on Koji Asano to run against your (or anyone else's) expectations. If some of his albums share very close similarities, Spirit of the Wardrobe is something else: a renewed listening experience. The format remains the same: a single track, this time just a couple minutes short of an hour. But where the artist usually uses dense sonic textures, here the music itself is reduced to short outbursts lost in long stretches of silence. Ninety-nine percent of the seconds found on this CD are free of any sound. Occasionally, and irregularly, a wall of noise flickers by. It lasts maybe half a second each time, just long enough for the listener, inevitably lost in his own thoughts, to refocus his attention ("something's happening!"). Of course, your mind shifts back to the music only to find it is gone. This elusiveness works as a mind trick, a game of hide and seek in which the listener is "it." Other composers explored the idea: Francisco Lopez has made silence-as-tension a central part of his esthetic; Christof Migone has released an album made of fragments from a one-minute field recording scattered among tracks of silence (Quieting, 2000). But neither had achieved the perfect psycho-acoustic balance that is Spirit of the Wardrobe. The questions that remain are: is it any good? Is it interesting? Well, if you heard any of Asano's other albums, you know these questions do not apply to such conceptual sound art. It is surprising, clever, well done -- an experience yielding a level of fascination depending only on the listener's patience toward (or resistance to) silence. It should be enough.
Share this page