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Net Feature/ Sawako: "Summer Tour"

img  Tobias

The Japanese are known to have a slightly obsessive need to document every second of their holiday in pictures. „Summer Tour“ plays with this cliche by presenting the audio equivalent to this flood of visuals.

Judging by the sheer multitude of recordings collected here, at least, it seems that Sawako had her tape recorder running continously while touring Europe in the warmer months of last year. It must have been a happy time: After releases with the cream of the crop of the American Soundart world (including Taylor Deupree's 12K and Dale Lloyd's And/Oar) and features in „Blow Up Magazine“ as well as „The Wire“, the busy duopolit (she divides her time between Tokyo and New York) embarked on a multi-country visit to the old contintent with her new album „Madoromi“ under her belt.

„Summer Tour“ is nothing less of a colourful picture book of that episode and may offer interesting insight into the creative process of an artist, who has been praised as a breath of fresh air to the sometimes inhibited and academic world of sound art. From this selection alone, one can clearly detect what fascinates the former Classical Piano student: The blending of spatial acoustics and electric voice transmissions, timbral idiosyncracies of different languages, structured music within subtly chaotic environments, sudden mysterious occurances of harmonics in completely ordinary situations, moments of silence in the eye of the city's storm and serene beauty in cold technology.

It isn't always clear whether or not these field recordings are completely unprocessed, but the doubt-factor works to the advantage of „Summer Tour“. A rippled drone pierces the first seconds of the train station (or airport?) snapshot of „Nagoya Sinkansen“ and the „Paris Stationloop“ is marked by an improbable sense of rhythm – strange, but strangely significant moments when music and sound intersect from out of nowhere: On „Berlin-Midnight“, the finely buzzing noise emanating from what appears to be an electric razor hums a soothing goodnight song.

You don't have to listen to the music with these apects in mind. Sawako does not engage in nostalgic remiscing and is unafraid of abruptly truncating her pieces after a mere minute, thus keeping the album in a vivid flow of perpetually and quickly changing sceneries. Just like you will not look at each picture from a vacation for hours in a row, she is content with the intuitive feeling one gets from diving right into a particular instant. Just when the body has absorbed the mood and the factors attributing to it, she moves on, presenting its audience with new impressions.

It might coincide with some cliches, but „Summer Tour“ does a lot to explain what makes keeping the hand on the record button so appealing. After listening to this record,  Japanese phototourism will never look the same again.

By Tobias Fischer

After we published the review, Sawako contacted us with some interesting information on the album's creation: "Summer Tour (original) is completely unprocessed. Sometimes I picked up the field sound or an environment which sounds like the pure electronic synthesis sound (or "musical" sound), and because of my Edirol R09 recorder, there will sometimes be distortion or noise. Since i am interested in both organic and digital sound, without deep intention, my ears are always looking for some sound which is naturally made but sounds like the result of digital synthesis. - sometime the nature sound sounds more "digital" than the computing result!"

Hompage: Sawako
Homepage: Anticipate Recordings

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