Pawn: Kitchen
Symbolic Interaction

Pawn's Kitchen is the latest in Symbolic Interaction's “pragmatism” series (which means, most conspicuously, that its CD arrives housed in an ejector case). I'm not quite sure what exactly Hideki Umezawa's got up his sleeve on the release but track titles such as “Oven, Sink” and “Cup + Dishes” suggest that either the kitchen's his favourite room in the house or, more likely, that the electroacoustic set-pieces were constructed using kitchen-related samples. Certainly kitchen sounds (dripping water, dishes, etc.) do appear amidst the tracks' more conventionally musical contents (piano, guitar) so we'll go with our second guess. Regardless, what we've got here are four originals followed by four remixes by Chib (FatCat), Geskia! (flau), and Fjordne (Dynamophone). Pawn's tracks are detail-packed conglomerations of acoustic and electronic sounds, tranquil at their core but restless and endlessly mutating otherwise. In “Oven, Sink,” a slow piano melody drifts through a glitch-infested mass of ripples, tears, clicks, and smears, the piano sometimes seemingly shattered into stuttering shards, while “Cup + Dishes” and “Oil & Bread” present wonderland of shuddering sparkle and slivers of glistening, music box-like fragments, respectively.

In the CD's second half, Chib strips “Cup + Dishes” of some of its busyness, all the better to hear its peaceful piano playing with greater clarity, and adds a wordless vocal part that calls to mind Laurie Anderson's “O Superman.” Fjordne likewise boosts “Oil & Bread” by bringing forth the elegant musicality at the melancholic track's pitter-pattering center. Geskia takes two runs at “Oven, Sink,” the first a funky, glitch-heavy exercise and the second a more placid setting where graceful guitar peals and field sounds of children share the spotlight. Pawn and his dinner guests do pack a lot of music into Kitchen's thirty-four minutes.

April 2009