Tetuzi Akiyama

Résophonie

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Part of the onkyo scene (with or without his consent), Tetuzi Akiyama has a less-absolute attitude on microscopic gestures than fellow artists Taku Sugimoto or Toshimaru Nakamura. Released on the French label A Bruit Secret (instrumental in establishing young, like-minded improvisers from Tokyo and Berlin), Resophonie showcases a noisier side of the guitarist. The title is a neologism that could translate to "resophonia" -- the sound of resonance. Akiyama plays a prepared guitar with a resonator. Strings buzz as the artist struggles to gain control of the instrument, the resonator triggering unsuspected responses from the paper clips, pens, and other objects inserted under the strings. The pieces sound both harsh and crystalline; the humming of the sympathetic strings evokes Barbara Romen and Gunter Schneider's installation piece "Disordered Systems," while the gritty gnarl of the targeted string sounds like a cross between Keith Rowe's table guitar torture and Judy Dunaway's amplified balloons. From the choice of limited means of sound-making and the improvisational approach, Resophonie shares esthetic concerns with the music of Sachiko M, Taku Sugimoto, or Annette Krebs, but it doesn't require extremely quiet listening conditions. On the contrary, tracks like "Léthargie" and "Dissociation" are pretty much in-your-face. The inclusion of plucked numbers ("Bordure," "Primitif") grants some relief. Even in the realm of reductionist/lowercase avant-garde music, this album comes as a strange proposition. Presented to neophytes, it will probably make no sense.

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