Because Tatsu Aoki has usually worked in the acoustic realm, Dial was a major departure for him. This CD finds the Chicago resident forming a duet with electronics provider Yasuhiro Otani, who "plays" a wide variety of samples he has stored on his Apple Macintosh computer (a PowerBook 3400) while Aoki plays his upright bass and provides some electronics himself. This session was done in real time -- in other words, Otani will use his PowerBook to play samples of the many different sounds he has recorded and stored (everything from birds chirping and the wind howling to horns honking, horses pulling a carriage along and planes flying overhead), and Aoki responds with his bass. Otani (a composer who has played jazz guitar) and Aoki clearly have a strong dialogue, and the end results are as strange and eccentric as they are interesting. Whether or not Dial should be considered jazz is open to debate -- Aoki is improvising on his upright bass, but what Otani does with his PowerBook isn't "playing" in the conventional sense. Arguably, Dial is simply a sound effects album with a lot of acoustic bass, but however you categorize this CD, it's certainly intriguing, if less than essential.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson