Koji Asano does things differently. This assertion summarizes his approach to music. Each album stands as a new statement, a fresh idea, a different way. You Can't Open the Door Because It's Already Open contains a series of solo piano improvisations. It's been done, right? Of course it has, and even Asano already committed such an album (Celeste, 1997). "So what's the twist with this release?," you may ask. The instrument, the locale, and the means. The piano used for the recording is a half-broken object, an old thing of the past rich in poetic value and sonic idiosyncrasies. The performance took place in Pushkin, Moscow, in a hall. The recording was made with all doors and windows open. Asano's dreamy explorations of the instrument's cracked register (he literally hammers the high-end notes to release the most resonance) are recorded from afar. Noises from the street and the other rooms in the building, people walking down the hall and stopping to listen, they all become part of the piece, meshed into the pianist's excesses. The recording signal crosses over saturation levels; the listener isn't sure if there aren't any electronic manipulations involved (and although there aren't, the general sound gets closer to Asano's later sound art/electronic pieces than anything purely acoustic). The pianist's performance is much more vivid and challenging than in Celeste. The sonic context it is inscribed in turns it into one unique experience. This may be the easiest place to start if you want to grasp what Asano tries to accomplish by crossing the border between innocent-looking music and conceptual art. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by François Couture