After an album of string duets (Spherical Moss Factory) and a hiatus that lasted a few months, Koji Asano came back with January Rainbow, a CD comprising a single 64-minute piece. January Rainbow marks his return to the piano which he hadn't used on record since Preparing for April. The music consists of a piano piece, tender and absolutely tonal, buried under a layer of harsh noise. At first it sounds like listening to a piano recital on shortwave radio: the signal is not clear, it phases in and out. After a while the electronics settle into their Merzbow-like harsh noise mood and remain like that. The sound manipulation has left the upper register of the piano sounding like distorted gamelan. Occasionally we hear children screaming in the background. At times they sound playful, at others horrified. It makes for a discomforting piece, and once more in Asano's work duration becomes the debatable point. This reviewer happens to know that the composer lost a loved one to illness shortly after the release of the previous CD. It turns January Rainbow into a stunning expression of grief, anger, and sadness. It doesn't make it any more pleasurable to listen to -- it is as if the artist wanted to forbid us enjoyment.
Share this page