Sound Factory (1997)

Otomo Yoshihide

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Sound Factory (1997) Review

by Brian Olewnick

Consisting of two lengthy solo tracks with Yoshihide wielding turntables and hard disc recorder, Sound Factory (1997) finds him at his most unrelentingly brutal. Which is a wonderful thing to hear. The first piece, "DD," is a ferocious barrage of screaming, incendiary electronic noise, careening feedback, and subsonic groans paired with supersonic sine waves that threaten the integrity of one's eardrums. The assault continues for 20 minutes, a solo version of some of the more viscerally intense Ground Zero performances, like the beginning of Last Concert. Fans of that legendary band will savor this "small-scale" rendition. The remaining track, "HK," is a turntable extravaganza, objectively easier (slightly) on the ears but still jam-packed with information as Yoshihide skips and jumps at supersonic speeds, collaging every imaginable source into a sound sandwich overflowing at the sides. Interestingly, this perhaps represented a last look back at the sort of things he had been creating through the mid-'90s and would largely abandon henceforth, preferring to concentrate on more abstract, less referential music. The last minute or so, consisting of a high sine tone over a static-y background, pointed the way toward his next stage. Sound Factory (1997) is a strong work for those with reinforced ears.