If you simply listen to the music, Yasunao Tone's eponymous release is dizzying, chaotic, harsh, hyperactive, and will make you sick to your stomach. If you read the liner notes and listen to what the music is (instead of what it sounds like), it becomes dazzling, stunning, a bit worrying, and will still make you sick to your stomach. Pushing further the concept of his tool of choice, the wounded CD (and its not-feeling-so-good-itself CD player), Tone delivers three tracks of mind-bending conceptual noise. At the heart of this album are Man'yo poems, dating back from first millennium China. Tone chooses pictures matching each Chinese character in the poems, scans them into the computer, translates the raw data into noise, burns it onto CD-R, prepares the disc, applying pieces of scotch tape, scratching, and drilling holes in it, then plays it back. That method was used for the first two pieces, and the result is a thick puree of skipping sound mayhem. The third piece, 30 minutes long, is a bit different in principle. Using a computer graph tablet, Tone drew lines from the poem into a program that interpreted his scribbles into wave forms. These raw materials were then subjected to the same "wounded CD" treatments, and the results are once again very similar. This Asphodel CD adds little to Tone's previous album, Solo for Wounded CD, released on Tzadik. Take it as computer music, conceptual art, a test of endurance, any way you like; this album is not a comfortable listen.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture