By 2002, had MIDI joined the analog synthesizer and the dial radio in the museum of outdated technologies? When his experimental electronica colleagues used Max/MSP patches to churn out loops of clicks + cuts, Nobukazu Takemura decided to investigate the built-in limitations of MIDI, a mode of musical data transmission introduced with the first digital synthesizers of the early '80s. The problem with MIDI is that "noise" creeps up in the transmission -- ghost data makes unwanted notes and uncontrolled events appear. Water's Suite is a dense work based solely on MIDI data. In terms of a listening experience, it goes back to Takemura's demanding 1999 CD Scope. Not for the faint of heart, it proposes one hour of fast-cascading staccato notes, ripples of random sounds later sculpted into abstract shapes. Drones and clicks provide flooring. Takemura has created a piece with lots of movement and a captivating tension between the organized and the disorganized, but it lacks dynamics. Painfully relentless, the six untitled parts leave no room to breathe and offer little variety in terms of the sound palette. On the other hand, there's a lot happening inside and you can literally lose yourself in these synthetic waterfalls. Fans of Takemura's more danceable music should be warned: Water's Suite is one very different experience. Released by the Australian label Extreme as part of its Special Editions series.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture