Review: Harae Nagoshi – 120-1380 (self-released, Jul 1)

Translating concrète music to a live environment is difficult, but even more difficult is the task of creating a means for fluid improvisation. Geniuses like Jérôme Noetinger or Jason Lescalleet make it look easy, coaxing the most abstract textures from unconventional sources like their tape machines are extensions of their bodies. And even if a piece is entirely improvised, on a recording it may end up sounding very composed. What I’m trying to say that it is not an easy thing to make this sort of music come across as naturally conjured as, say, a solo improvisation using guitar or saxophone. On 120-1380, enigmatic Japanese sound artist Harae Nagoshi’s latest independent tape release, delicate crinkles, clicks, and cycles flow into existence with palpable spontaneity, framed with well-placed silence—especially in the piece’s sublime beginning—and manual manipulations that reveal the presence of an active participant. Nagoshi’s typical palette of diminutive, tactile timbres is presented in a new light, and near the halfway point of the track the sounds are embroiled in a fragile but undeniably kinetic state of unrest that feels much more unpredictable and immediate than the artist’s previous releases.

This review is based on the digital version.