Review: Xtematic / Kazuya Ishigami – Tokoshie No Oto Split Tape (NEUS-318, Apr 21)

The two sides of Tokoshie No Oto are both very different approaches to composition using found sound, and both are done very well. Xtematic’s “Silens – 28.4.2016” was put together from field recordings he made in a shoe factory, but the source material is mostly unrecognizable, twisted and contorted into rhythmic techno beats. Though the unique process used to produce the track – and most likely the following “Assemblement” as well – is largely obscured by the final product, the pieces still have a uniquely enigmatic element to them that would not be found if a less adventurous technique was used. In contrast, Kazuya Ishigami’s contribution, “Drone Shrine,” largely makes its origins clear. The constant chirping of crickets, deep cavernous yawns, and electric crackles form a track that sounds exactly like the title; a mysterious, decrepit soundscape steeped in forgotten memories and displaced souls. While I enjoyed Ishigami’s side more, both artists brought great things to the table, and it is always pleasing to see the principles of musique concrète still being explored and expanded.