Sachiko M


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First, one hears a ping, echoing slightly, and then another of the same. Then, a different ping, higher and more delicate. The two dance and flutter about each other in an irregular but beautiful pattern, gradually joined by earthier sounds: rubbings, burps, fizzles. So begins Sachiko M.' s wonderful, tiny masterpiece, Debris, a three-inch disc containing two very different pieces. On the first piece, simply titled "Sine Wave Solo 3," she, as usual, restricts herself to a sampler devoid of samples, feeding only off of the factory-installed test tones and various other glitches she has discovered. But her genius resides in being able to construct a vivid soundscape, where sonar-like tones ring against each other, signaling through a detail-filled environment that is both pristine and complex. It's a masterful performance and stands as one of the high points of late 20th century improvised electronic music. The instrument of choice for the remaining piece, "Half-Moon," is a mere contact mic, which -- as nearly as the listener can tell -- is abused in countless ways on varying surfaces, creating a mass of crackling, thudding noises in a miniaturist version, perhaps, of Stockhausen's Mikrophonie. It's rough, uncompromising, visceral, and ultimately rewarding. Sachiko, by this time, had staked out a Spartan territory on her own; apart from supplying abstract color to bands like Ground-Zero and Hoahio, she was showing how this music -- at once delicate and powerful -- could stand unsupported and strong. Debris, over the short course of its 18 minutes, marks a high point in her career and in electro-acoustic improvisation in general. Highly recommended.

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