Yoshio Machida

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Naada Review

by arwulf arwulf

Initially a visual collage and photobatik artist, Yoshio Machida gradually expanded his palette in 2001 to include field recordings and experimental music and began recording improvisations on the amorphon, a self-made steel pan or steel drum, within electronically generated sound environments. His third album, Infinite Flowers, was released in 2003; its sequel, released in 2004, was titled Naada. Although both albums were inspired by exotic flora, Naada differs from its predecessor in that the instrumentation consists of solo steel pan without any electronically generated textures or beats whatsoever. Instead, Machida utilizes multi-track recording technology to create ethereal clouds of overlapping, intersecting, coexisting minimalistic improvisations. One important motif here is the relative radial nature of flowers, of light and sound sources, and of the steel pan itself. Here, he says, "...the whole is made up of the spaces and relationships between each sound." That philosophy essentially puts Machida in league with Anton Webern, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Giacinto Scelsi, John Cage, Ornette Coleman, and Anthony Braxton. (Parallels can be drawn between Machida's fascination with the comparative properties of sound and light and the poetry of Hildegard Jone, whose verses were set by Anton Webern. It was she who wrote a poem containing the phrase "The Sunlight Speaks"; Webern had begun to incorporate the poem into a presumptive Opus 32 when his life was abruptly terminated in 1945.) The music of Naada is remarkably beatific. It includes four different meditations on the Lotus, a sampling of Dew and "Texas Vino," a clever anagram for the title of the piece that inspired it, Erik Satie's infamous "Vexations."

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