Toshimaru Nakamura


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Vehicle is the third solo release by Toshimaru Nakamura of his music for no-input mixing board, an "empty" device that turns out to be rather full of sound when intelligently explored. Much more so than the previous two albums (and very much unlike his collaborations with musicians like Sachiko M or Keith Rowe), the music here is quite rhythmic, only a shade or two from being accurately termed "beat-driven." Nakamura loops the sounds he discovers into irregularly overlapping patterns wherein the timbre is of far more importance than the harmonic quality of the "notes." Much of Vehicle could be appreciated by fans of electronica, but it is so pared down and shorn of anything resembling lushness that it might still be somewhat forbidding. For listeners approaching from the electro-acoustic improv end of the spectrum, this is a good thing, as the rhythmic cycles encountered here can easily be likened to motoric hums and glitched receiver signals. Sometimes, as on "nimb no. 32," the repeated fragment has strong overtones of a rock riff, though one that's been surgically removed from its source and considered as an alien kernel on its own. Even then, its heart is gradually and fascinatingly eaten into and eroded by corrosive agents that seek to disrupt its momentum. This is followed by the serenely static yet hyperactive "nimb no. 33," where an entire neglected microworld is seemingly examined, a world chock-full of soft hums, tiny clicks, and effervescing pops. Vehicle is a wonderfully imaginative work, yet another example of an extremely gifted artist working with limited means who, by dint of his powerfully discerning ear, turns out to be virtually unlimited in fact. Highly recommended.

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