Yoko Sato

Searching for My Recording Engineer

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How much noise can a man or woman (let's not be sexist) produce out of an electric guitar? A whole lot. Of course listeners already knew that, but Searching for My Recording Engineer is a good reminder. With the right feedback and effects pedals, the guitar becomes a nightmarish orchestra, and Yoko Sato sure knows how to conduct it. Do these four guitar improvisations (one also includes voice) amount to something more than just noise? That kind of question depends very much on personal tastes and views about "noise as art." Sato's music is obviously driven by a desire to communicate strong emotions and make quite a racket. She is not playing the shock value card, and this is not a test of endurance either, yet she fails to transcend the baggage of her instrument. Whether playing thick drones or jerky motions, the guitar remains a guitar and the music -- noise. Yelps and moans in "Guitar and Voice Improvisation" take listeners close to the spirit of Keiji Haino while providing a glimpse of Sato's gut-wrenching power when totally immersed in her playing, but this kind of involvement doesn't prevail throughout the album, making it an average release -- of course, if you can't stand noise guitar why would you be here in the first place? The artist had the decency to keep things short, 35 minutes total, which means that for once there sits a noise album you can enjoy without getting tired in the long run. The title is a nice find.

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