artist: YUI ONODERA
catalog number: and/28
release year: 2007
status: sold out
Yui Onodera first attracted attention with work released on his own Critical Path
label in 2005. It wasn't too long after that he attracted the attention of Drone
Records, and/OAR, Mystery Sea, Taalem and Gears Of Sand (releases still
forthcoming on Mystery Sea and Gears Of Sand).
Suisei is a work composed from field recordings and pump organ.
Edited and re-mastered by Dale Lloyd.
With Suisei, each listener's inner cinema will find its camera lens slowly panning
and cross-fading from one enigmatic location to another, as if unveiling
ambiguous visual clues pertaining to some wondrous culminating event that many
might not fully understand, yet it will still manage to leave an indelible impression
upon the subconscious mind and a very subtle pull on the emotions. A mystery
drone soundscape journey along the shores of an unfathomable glistening sea...
"Suisei is a composition by Yui Onodera that I like very much.
Almost tactile like use drone material, a seeming mix of environmental and
instrumental sounds (water seems to be a key element, and a pump organ is
mentioned). The piece builds slowly and inexorably, with a nice sense of pacing.
We might think it is over after about a half an hour but happily the work continues
even beyond. We never know where the composer is leading us, but we are happy
to find ourselves there." (Carl Stone)
EARLABS (MARCH 2008)
Suisei describes a gradual movement along a horizontal plain, hedged by field
recordings and drones that are ever changing, as multiple frequencies interact
through the vertical laminates, revealing a microtonal world simmering with
low-key drama and incident.
With past works already released on labels such as Mystery Sea, this recording
represents his most comprehensive and cogent statement to date. A narrative is
erected before one's minds eye, one which knows how to capture one's desire in
anticipation of what might be revealed at the end. In this vein, Onodera exploits
the harmonic space to spread out chordal shifts and inject mood and tension into
pure, abstracted soundworlds. Change and continuity are then united in his
carefully tending to the interplay of the field recordings with the pump organ, as
he patiently waits for the interaction to reach a natural endpoint before gradually
weaving in new elements as the old die away in a wonderfully slow cross-fade.
Another part of his approach is to diligently explore a few different aspects of one
thing. This is then mixed with incremental developments, which makes for a
dream-like environment, one in which the sounds assume a startling physicality
while at the same time seeming inexhaustible in character.
The pacing is in keeping with this, moving smoothly as it does from lulling to
edgily ambiguous. The production is done with delicacy and minimalist rigor, and
as with a stick or rock, it's consistent the entire way through. Indeed, that it is so
well organized in every regard only helps further the sense that all of these pieces
have emerged from a consistent and rigorous aesthetic. (Max Schaefer)
THE WIRE (FEBRUARY 2008)
Suisei translates from the Japanese with a number of meanings. It could be a
comet, or the Japanese name for the planet Mercury, or an adjective for
"aquatic", particularly with reference to the strength of a river current. In the case
of Yui Onodera's album, the watery metaphors apply. Sourced from field
recordings and pump organ, Suisei is a meditative album which transitions
effectively between humble drips, wet smacks and lulling patter of water tumbling
through the landscape. Onodera doesn't pretend that his field recording
techniques enjoy the pristine fidelity of Chris Watson or a Douglas Quin, rather his
mottled sounds embrace the abstraction produced through contact microphones
and consumer-grade dictation mics. Sustained drones from his pump organ
buttress the quiet hypnosis of these field recordings, thanks to the instrument's
woozy oscillations. The organ's harmonics gradually swell as ghostly slippages of
sound descend gracefully into compressed wintry din and aquatic percolations.
AQUARIUS RECORDS (JANUARY 2008)
Not much information to present about who Yui Onodera is. Nor is there anything
in the way of a conceptual framework to guide one through this album beyond its
sources from "environmental sound and pump organ." Not that it really matters
anyway, as Suisei is a gorgeous album of darkly textured drones with parallels to
Thomas Koner's isolationist compositions or Keith Berry's precious
deconstructions. Wind, rain, and water all make themselves known in the
collection of field recordings, as does the pump organ, which reveals itself in
harmonic sustained tones with a spectral timbre (e.g. Niblock, Radigue, Chalk,
etc.). During a particular enigmatic episode, wooden creaks and sodden groans
duet with a motorized persistant soft-grind, giving the impression that some
unscrupulous machine is quietly compacting sinews, meat, and bone. Strangely,
it never sounds macabre or unsettlingly grotesque; rather, these crunching textures
situate humbly next to a hypnotic wash of compressed static and melancholic
shadowy drone, which sublimely shift into a slippery crescendo of grey massed
sound. Very, very well done!
TOUCHING EXTREMES (MAY 2008)
Sometimes I feel in dire trouble, cornered in the condition of finding words to
describe what is a relatively simple record that nevertheless touches certain
depths, which not many artists can manage to, their display of technical prowess
notwithstanding. In the case of Yui Onodera, a clue was reading the “special
thanks” to Mystery Sea’s boss Daniel Crokaert on the sleeve: where this man is
found, the presence of water is all but assured (and the Japanese artist has
releases out on that label, too - stay tuned). Indeed this album is strongly based on
different aquatic hues in various kinds of sonic gradations and dripping intensity.
Not only that, Onodera also made good use of uncertainly definable
“environmental sounds” - apparently slightly treated, at least in well (in)
determinate foggier sections - and splendid ghostly emergences of his pump
organ, whose static chords enter the picture in sparse appearances, like a
detached narrator would in a minimal theatre performance where the audience
understands what happens but somehow still appreciates to be led amidst the
subplots. The composer succeeds in chipping the commonplace off the
utilization of water as a compositional means, an austere processing the key factor
in creating a natural path through which the piece slowly walks, delivered from
useless glittering clothes, extremely profound in its almost religious concoction of
deep-breath silent prayer and severe concentration. Elemental innocence that
doesn’t promise an easy penetrability. (Massimo Ricci)
ART OF MEMORY (NOVEMBER 2007)
So far, one of my favourite discs of 2007, simply beautiful and delicate, produced
and designed by Dale Lloyd, one of his (and/OAR) best yet.