b. Paul T. Kirk, Scotland. Kirk is an ex-patriot Scot relocated to Japan. As the former label owner of Human Condition Records, Kirk notably issued Idlewild’s first record. He derives his musical moniker from the Japanese name for a species of dragonfly that is considered to be particularly exquisite (and is also the title of what is considered to be Japan’s most beautiful song). The name would seem to be ironic as beauty is probably not a value often associated with Akatombo’s layered noise. According to its creator, Akatombo’s 2003 debut, Trace Elements, came about through a fascination with ‘the layering of sound - any type of sound, not necessarily those that most of us think as musical’. Mobile telephones, radios, babbling voices and street sounds are all appropriated within the album’s neo-industrial tracks. He reconfigures these atmospheres into a frequently oppressive, ominous and (sometimes) melodramatic recording. As if to re-iterate Kirk’s interest in the ‘drone’, the musician even named a track ‘Cicada’ after the insects of the Cicadella genus. The album was recorded in Hiroshima, Japan in a studio that specialised in soundtracks for television adverts, with the help of an engineer who did not speak English. Collaborators and contributors included Colin Greig (ex-Long Fin Killie), Grant McNamara, Gavin Henderson and Masaru Saeki. Each track was recorded and mixed in one day with the express intent of maintaining urgency and freshness in the recordings. Trace Elements was issued by Swim, the label run by Colin Newman of Wire.
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