Listen to Akio Suzuki ‘throwing’ and ‘following’ and drink in the substance of sound


Born in 1941 in Pyongyang, Akio Suzuki is a pioneer in the field of sound art. His first work was in in 1963 at Nagoya station, where he threw a bucket full of random objects down a staircase in the hope it would yield pleasant results. Later he explored the processes of “throwing” and “following”, casting out sounds and gestures into space and catching their returns. Each of the piece explored the materiality of his chosen objects and the space within which each is activated.

This piece ‘Hinabi’ is a documentation of his ‘throwing and following’ practice, and comes from his album Stone that was originally recorded in Berlin in 1994. It’s being reissued and remastered from original recordings to celebrate its 30th year anniversary. It also features an essay from frequent collaborator David Toop.

Here is a brief excerpt from Toop:

“With concentration, or elevated tension as he has called it, Akio Suzuki enters completely into the substance of sound, its emergence and its passing. What he does with sound may propose a rarefied world to many people, and yet it possesses a persuasive quality of rightness. One of the most difficult aspects of music and soundwork to explain is the concept of ‘right action’. How is that music can be evaluated almost immediately, just as quickly as a fire alarm or a baby’s cry?

When Akio performs, certain qualities (grace, warmth, a quiet authority of mind and action, an engagement with the vessel of nothingness through which sound can emerge) are evident as presences, as soon as he begins. He begins from a state we call silence, by listening, yet at the same time raises questions about our ideas of what this silence might be.

Time passes; fixity gives way to destruction; visual perfection is relinquished within the faintest of sound fields. As for the work, this ceremony returns us to nothing, ‘to the feeling of not knowing exactly what is before us’, so to the uncanny, to the shell-like ear found by the sea, the ‘ungraspable phantom of life’, the record of a haunting, time regained. The sound is a parabola, a finger tracing on skin, a brush point, bird in flight.”

Stone will be released via Room40 14th of June 2024. You can find it here.


About Author

Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.