Masayuki Imanishi: Tone

Wieman: Cryptonesia

That Japanese sound artist Masayuki Imanishi is credited on Tone's back cover with radio, paper, and field recordings (apparently debris and other objects also were involved) says much about the kind of experimental material featured on the seven-track vinyl album (250 hand-numbered copies); it's also noteworthy that the accompanying press release includes the following point of clarification: “All clicks, pops, and shuffles are intended.” Thirty minutes of enigmatic sound art explorations, each one pitched at a subdued volume level and speckled with detail, are spread across its vinyl sides.

Softly burbling microbes of alien, amorphous sound emerge in the opening track, in addition to radio noise that intrudes upon the sound field. Other settings suggest the amplified activity of an insect colony and the swirl of noisemaking that might appear on a field recording of a night-time forest; one piece could even pass for a sound portrait of Imanishi assembling something in his workshop, considering the abundance of hammering and whirring included in the piece. It's suggested that Tone should be filed next to releases by Steve Roden, Bernhard Günter, and Asmus Tietchens, a detail that in itself makes clear the kind of zone Imanishi's inhabiting on the recording.

Entirely different in character is Cryptonesia by Wieman duo Roel Meelkop (Goem, Kapotte Muziek) and Frans de Waard (Kapotte Muziek, Goem, Beequeen, Freiband). Also issued on vinyl in a 250-copy, hand-numbered run, the release is a boisterous set of plunderphonic explorations and experiments. The pair created the album's five “meltpop” (their term) productions using snippets from two obscure cassettes, Cybernetika and Cybonesia, by Cybe as springboards. Side A opens with the spirited scene-setter “Solero metall,” a frothy bit of mutant-techno, after which the energy drops for the slow-building “weirde MeCanik.” At first a microsound excavation, the track gradually develops into an elaborate cornucopia of shimmering melodies, woozy drones, and pulsing beats. Oddball electronica follows, along with a side-closer that sees snaps and kettle drums colliding with micro-traces of grinding acid.

Such settings aren't without merit, but it's the flip's side-long “Little klokkebel Swing” that's the real scene-stealer, especially when the itinerary includes eighteen clip-clopping minutes of tribal Balinese gamelan trippiness. Consistent with such a description, there's percussion aplenty but also alien vocalizations, carousel-like sounds, and, eventually, a Cluster-styled ambient-krautrock outro. Wieman would appear to be having some kind of serious fun on the recording.

May 2016