Toshida Tsunoda: Ridge of Undulation

Toshiya Tsunoda is correct in noting (as he does in Ridge of Undulation's introductory text) that similar phases can be observed between the vibration of a thin metal plate and the huge waves of a vast seashore. But in the Yokohama-based sound artist's hands (whose Extract From Field Recording Archive #2: The Air Vibration Inside A Hollow inaugurated Häpna in 1999), the disc's eight pieces assume radically different character. Whether he's layering sine waves eight times and then mixing them with the sound of a vibrating surface or recording the sounds of the Venice beach seashore, Tsunoda casts his field material in entirely new light. A purist of sorts, Tsunoda limits the extent of his manipulations—many pieces feature no editing except for volume adjustments—but the settings sound no less alien for being handled so restrainedly. Minus its title, for instance, one might imagine “At stern, Tokyo Bay_11 Dec 97” to be the sound of an amplified washing machine or some other piece of industrial equipment. In other cases, sounds are more identifiable (e.g., “Arrival, Kisarazu bay_11 Dec 97”) yet no less striking when one's listening is focused so singularly. Though such austere explorations of sonic phenomena won't have mass appeal, those with a taste for fine-tuned microscaping will find much to appreciate. Ridge of Undulation shows that, yes, one can find beauty in the tiniest sonic details.

June 2006