Yoshio Machida – Hypernatural #3 (Baskaru)

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In canvassing the not so small matter of oblivion, Yoshio Machida brings his Hypernatural series to an end. The project was taken up in the first place as an attempt to express the whole theme of nature through sound collage – part one being about memory in Eastern Asia and part two about transparent existence.

Even if the album falls well short of such lofty heights, there is little denying that Machida is a fine symphonist of fragments, snaring the most evanescent of sonic events and setting them in constantly evolving and richly expressive motion. Pieces develop from a single pulse or small clutch of percussive rattles into a twitching tapestry of inextricably intertwined high-register lines while the remaining space is flooded with spectral howls and a warped and wondrous oceanic vibe.

The rest of the album follows a similar arc – raga-like in its continual unfolding, the aerial war of electronics is explored and mined for most every musical nuance. The dense, lengthy drones, in whose blue, and occasionally grey, sibilant skies scattered electronics and field recordings do pirouettes off in the distance, are harmed as much as they are assisted by this personal vendetta of Machida’s. In endeavoring to convey broad themes of nature, the general is often privileged over the singular. Either too much is included, and a richly seductive surface beauty evolves despite somewhat sylphlike content, or stark raw materials are forced to shine with iridescent complexity. This does result in some beautiful segments that, however fleeting, inspire real moments of wonder, but a more controlled approach would have worked much to its betterment.

Max Schaefer

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