V/A :: Tasogare: Live in Tokyo (12k)

The serene, almost reverential, music issuing from within these Japanese temples is no doubt site-specific, its context of capture preserving a highly particular atmosphere distinguishing it from studio sound.

'Tasogare: Live in Tokyo'

[Purchase] Tasogare: Live in Tokyo documents performances at two temples in Tokyo by a community of 12k luminaries. Komyoji Temple was the venue for sullen soundsmiths Solo Andata, a couple of installments of whose deep textured tracts wrought with instruments and found sound have already been represented on 12k – including another live contribution (review here). 12k’s feminine side is well represented by Sawako, with guitarist Hofli backing her, and Moskitoo, whose toytown skitter and abstract J-pop minimalism are a strand of the label’s output that is, shall we say, characteristic. From another show – at Jiyu Gakuen Myonichi-kan – were drawn pieces from the improv electronica outfit Minamo and 12k supremo himself, Taylor Deupree.

Minamo open with a wide-ranging sonic palette, merging guitar with harmonized electronic motifs, building improv-style through expansive tone, strum’n’drone, before the hum succumbs to a rattle of metals, queasy sinetone and static. Sawako + Hofli then bring a bright and breezy variety of easy-peasy-Japanesey ‘tronica, teasing out a certain fragile winsomeness, with gentle vocal wisps over bell-tone and light drone, a haze of tintinnabulation slowly mounting magisterially seguing through concrète into a pretty-pretty closure of up-close-and-personal guitar pluckery and vocal twee one would prefer left rather than taken. Moskitoo’s set is an edit of three performances, mixing loopy glitch and itchy gloop: 8-bit snippets and what sounds like a charity shop Casio collude in a slippery mix of not entirely euphonic elements eventually shown the way by an over-assertive toy keyboard. Her offbeat stylings fuse neo-concrète elements with faux-naif melodies in a certain combo of J-pop twee and studied eccentricity that vitiates – or, equally, renders appealing, for those susceptible to its cutesy-weird charm – this particular orientation in Japanese electronica. Solo Andata’s arrival signals a substantial and gratifying shift in sonic architecture; the sullen Aussies’ heavier textures and murkier tonalities loom over huge swells in the longest and most involving contribution here; wind and waves, and variously coloured depth-soundings teem through the inky crawl of its trajectory – an ominous sonography that teeters on the edge of gloom-mongering, but subtly skirts it, drawing us instead along a dark-and-long stretch of Köner-esque subterranea. The nocturnal hum is enthralling, though also welcome is its eventual cession to the dawn of the Taylor Deupree, who closes with a piece whose dusky contours seem title-themed (“Tasogare” = “twilight”). Delicate decaying strata, wispy harmonium-like looping, and sundry small noises off enliven its gentle cycles.

The recording’s raison d’etre is seen in terms of a document involving a unique configuration of place-artist-sound, and it undeniably successfully documents a certain idiosyncratric ambience – both in terms of spirit and artistic character. The serene, almost reverential, music issuing from within these Japanese temples is no doubt site-specific, its context of capture preserving a highly particular atmosphere distinguishing it from studio sound. Tasogare’s window on 12k’s workings in the field offers a different take of its mission “to create something beautiful, however small, in this oversaturated, violent world that we live in. A small space – a place to breathe.”

Tasogare: Live in Tokyo is out now on 12k. [Purchase]

various artists – tasogare live in tokyo by experimedia

 

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