Kozo Inada

Mort aux Vaches: i[]

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Part of Staalplaat's series of "live in the VPRO studio" releases (this one packaged in holes-punched handmade paper), i[] reveals the quieter side of Kozo Inada. It's not that his music is particularly noisy (although his first releases were), but this continuous 43-minute performance hovers for the most part on the threshold of audibility. Inada carefully places his high-pitched tones and flickering glitches, almost completely ignoring the lower frequencies. The music evolves slowly, gracefully although in a sterile way, accelerating on two short occasions when the artist suddenly makes all his strands join in a blinding flash of sound, followed by a stretch of near silence leading to a renewal of the sound palette. The gesture is clever and eschews the cliché of the "slow buildup/climax/catharsis" construction. It feels as if after spending 15 minutes or so painstakingly drawing a complex figure on an Etch-a-Sketch, Inada was shaking up the board to erase it and start anew. Field recordings (children voices multiplying up to a full schoolyard at recess) a few minutes before the end add a sudden touch of humanity to the otherwise cold piece, defying expectations and refocusing the listener's attention at a crucial time. Inada's performance never hints at its "live" aspect: the music feels genuinely composed, preplanned, and carefully executed. Despite its coldness, i[] is nevertheless a fascinating piece and invites repeated listens.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
42:28
blue highlight denotes track pick