Koji Asano

Absurd Summer

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Anyone who has heard a few of Koji Asano's albums knows that the piano is his instrument of choice. Absurd Summer pushes yet another step further a creative process that began in 1997's Celeste, and includes You Can't Open the Door Because It's Already Open (1998), Monsoon (1999), Preparing for April (2000), and January Rainbow (2002). The latter featured piano music heard through an electronic filter of an almost electrical nature. The music on Absurd Summer is also heavily processed, although to various degrees through the course of these 11 short pieces. Listening to track one for the first time, you may think that Asano is playing an assortment of metal pipes: a logical assumption, especially if you paid attention to the cover photo depicting a communication tower. But once you reach the fourth track it becomes obvious that it's all piano, but the filters can transform the instrument from a glockenspiel to a weird gamelan. And these transformations are achieved through a lot of noise. Sounds buzz and oppress, the album has been mastered very loudly, the whole thing has a harsh, in-your-face attitude that contrasts sharply with what is at its core: pretty, naive, piano patterns. In fact, this paradox may very well represent the absurdity hinted at in the album's title, although with Asano things are rarely what they first seem. The musical process -- and in some short moments the music (especially in tracks two and 11) -- can bring to mind Fennesz's Endless Summer, but the results are much more challenging and puzzling.