Yoshio Machida, "Naada"

Sunday, 16 July 2006 16:00 Matthew Amundsen Reviews - Albums and Singles
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For his fourth CD, Yoshio Machida improvises on a steel drum, using no electronic processing as he has previously and only minimal overdubs to create music that’s both impressionistic and meditative.

 

Amorfon

Sticking to the floral theme of his prior album Infinite Flowers, the first song is a three-part movement entitled “Lotus.” Light and reflective, the passages consist of many tiny melodies banded together, interspersed with bouts of introspective silence. None of the melodies dominates, and though the compositional effect initially feels random, some common motifs reappear upon closer inspection. Of a similar nature is “Texas Vino,” which was inspired by Erik Satie’s “Vexations.” Unlike Satie’s proposed 840 repetitions, however, Machida’s piece is much shorter, stealing into the room with simple melodic lines that add an aura of mystery to the surroundings.

The album shifts significantly with “Bloom,” composed of shimmering drones produced through overtones that appear when Machida hammers the drum in quick succession. What forms from this method is a startling work of prismatic beauty, with subtle shifts and interplay reminiscent of early minimalist composers. “Dew” is different from the other songs in that it feels as if it’s composed of fractured melodies that are longer than those in “Lotus” but left purposefully incomplete to create the slightest tension with the desire to hear them fulfilled. The album closes with “Lotus Solo,” which is a simpler version of the earlier movement and an apt closer for an album using reflection as a touchstone.

This album isn’t suitable for every occasion, but is perfect for moments of cleansing and contemplation.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 16 July 2006 07:39