Toshimaru Nakamura, as the titles of his two solo albums (both are called No-Input Mixing Board) indicate, plays an empty mixing desk, allowing him to work with feedback in an almost sculptural fashion, while Sachiko M uses an empty sampler to generate pure and penetrating sine waves. Nakamura's loops allow him to build up extended washes of sound without sacrificing the potential for subtle rhythmic interplay. Anyone assuming that electronic improvised music invariably causes permanent damage to domestic animals will be pleasantly surprised at the diversity of sounds on offer; the music positively glistens, resembling anything from forest birdsong and babbling brooks to distant traffic and the hum of machinery. Despite the track titles' fondness for the negative prefix and the seemingly nihilistic concept of playing empty instruments, Un is far more accessible and less interested in piercing-high frequencies than its successor (Do on Erstwhile). Because the musicians' working method is imposed by the nature of their instruments, each track takes its time to settle in, as feedback is gently molded into long drones and subtly adjusted. The two musicians are totally compatible and neither needs to bounce the other in a new direction. Their music inhabits the listening space, and even tiny movements of the head can reveal new and surprising combinations of tones that listening to more conventionally "active" improvised music tends to exclude.
Share this page