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CD Feature/ Yoshio Machida: "Hypernatural #3"

img  Tobias
Yoshio Machida’s view of the world is broken. The way our mind works, he reasons, we can only fully understand what surrounds in relative terms and as a correlation between at least two quantities –  and never by looking at its indivisual emanations on their own. His “Hypernatural” series, which he now concludes with its third part, sets out to conduct this process of comparing and relating in music by regarding sounds metaphorically.

What this means, in simpler terms, is that contrasts can actually make us see certain phenomena much clearer. On “Bubbles”, Machida features Buddhist nuns singing a traditional song. On its own, this doesn’t tell us all to much. By placing field recordings of grating noises, of footsteps on gravel, subtle machine rattlings and abstract spatial sounds on top of them however, he creates friction. Suddenly, the chant is part of a much larger environment, in which it both peacefully coexists and appears as anachronistic. This friction can serve as a foundation on which to establish an argument and make a point.

Speaking of which: The point of “Hypernatural #3” is that nature manifests itself in a multitude of interrelated and completely seperate cycles of oblivion and memory. Take the cover image, for example. The waves rolling gently towards the shore line will errode its stones over the course of ages. The way this changes their surface area implies that the new shape of each stone carries an inbuilt memory of the process on the one hand, while at the same time loosing all information about its previous state. In “Symphony”, Machida speeds up this stretched-out transformation and destills it into seven minutes of water sound and gurgling arpeggios.

There is a romantic side to this idea, for it implies that nothing in nature can stay the way it is forever and that some things may be lost for good on a personal level – but that in the greater scheme of things, even decay is only part of a circular flow: Every drop of rain contains a memory of the ocean. And the new world, which takes shape in every instant, is always a necessary conclusion from its predecessor, formed by cause and effect and thanks to the passing of time.

“Hypernatural #3” is a sentimental ending to the series, many of its pieces coming across as yearning meditations on things beyond our control. But if it is, then only because the world, in its irreversibility, is yearning as well. And at the album’s conclusion, there is hope: The title track places the sound of a single, rippled bass string in a forrest of eternal birdsong. It is a consoling finale: The world may be a broken place, but the music will never stop.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Yoshio Machida
Homepage: Baskaru Records

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