I.S.O.

Gravity Clock

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Once turntablist/electronicist Otomo Yoshihide disbanded Ground Zero, his first project to strike as forcefully, although in a completely different direction, was I.S.O., with Sachiko M (samplers, sine waves) and Ichiraku Yoshimitsu (electronics, percussion). Gravity Clock was released in 1999 and marked the beginning of the reign of electronics in free improv music. The album shows Yoshihide moving into more abstract and minimal music, followed by Sachiko M, who was slowly turning away from her sampler to focus on her sine wave generator. Yoshimitsu's input is somehow hard to establish, his treated percussion sounding nothing like drums and cymbals (except for an occasional wave of cymbal trashing). The album features four untitled tracks of decreasing length. After the crystal blips of the introduction and an ambient build-up, a beat is established, courtesy of guest Masuko Tatsuki. Here the music brushes elbows with illbient and provides the richest portion of the album. Sine waves populate the second track. The most intriguing piece is the third one: a number of pulsing layers serve as a sci-fi background for odd samples and Ichiraku's most prominent percussion work of the session. The atmosphere is incredibly haunting and fans of Ground Zero will feel at home for a few minutes. Arriving before improvised electronic artists such as Poire_Z, M.I.M.E.O., and Ticklish, Gravity Clock took many people by surprise. In retrospect, it holds an important place in Yoshihide's career and is a lot more listener-friendly than his subsequent project, Filament.

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