Following the solo piano CD You Can't Open the Door Because It's Already Open, Koji Asano released Vacant Land, a collection of three electro-acoustic pieces. The sources were recorded in Riga, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, but their nature remains undisclosed -- and chances are the track titles could only be misleading. "Accumulated Chairs" (20 minutes) is an ear-piercing piece of guitar feedback and noise, all well structured. One thinks of Keiji Haino or Thurston Moore's aptitude at sculpting feedback into various shapes. "Lumberyard" (23 minutes) begins with low, rumbling sounds, obviously treated. The use of silence in the first minutes of the piece fails to convince (Asano would push the idea much further and with better results in Spirit of the Wardrobe). The first half feels a lot like musique concrète, and the source goes through interesting transformations. Eventually, the piece opens up to electronics. It is nicely done, but it never strikes as a major work -- more of a pastime. "Bean Sprouts" (ten minutes) is a suite of sampler pieces all using snippets from string ensemble music. Have they been plundered from another composer -- and era -- or were they written and recorded specifically for this project? Once again, the results feel somehow clumsy and unfinished, like an exercise. Vacant Land charts new territory for Asano, but it lacks the assurance of previous efforts.
AllMusic Review by François Couture