catalog number: either/3
title: Ombrophilia
sold out

Tomoko Sauvage: water, porcelain bowls, hydrophones,
condenser mics, metal wire and wood spoons.

Sauvage, a Paris-based Japanese musician, uses water-filled
porcelain bowls for her electro-acoustic performances and
compositions. The use of hydrophones (underwater microphones)
allows her to capture the subtle sound of water waves and drops
resonating in porcelain bowls. The serene, contemplative aquatic
soundscape is woven from these fragile materials. Her first solo
album, Ombrophilia will be released on and/OAR (USA) in 2009.
(Previous) Collaborators include Gilles Aubry, Momus and
Emmanuel Rebus."  (The Wire)


"Difficult not to remain charmed, if not entirely mesmerized, by
Tomoko Sauvage's music for water, porcelain bowls and
hydrophones, delicately represented by the 40 minutes of
Ombrophilia. This is a model case in which, rather than looking at
the technical aspect of things, one should simply let the sound
influence the spirit. There's both structure and rational process at
work, yet they're not as significant as the warm luminescence
that these soothingly resonant pieces irradiate. With the
exception of 'Mylapore', which uses metal wire to produce a
growingly intricate ringing texture (imagine three or four
superimposed gamelans amidst a hundred bicycle bells) and the
minimal-yet-powerful 'Jalatarangam Revisited', the tracks
essentially exploit the ear-cuddling fluid shifts generated by the
hydrophones, that typical wavering of moving waters within a pot
that we've all experienced while helping mum to wash the dishes.
The two chapters of 'Amniotic Life' and 'Raindrop Exercise' give
the idea of different kinds of bell towers, the tolling modified by a
morphing acoustic lattice quietly wrapping their quintessence. But
the album's high point is 'Making Of A Rainbow' – a touching,
carillon-like wonder of a piece whose qualities are summed up in
a single adjective: vulnerable." (Massimo Ricci)

THE WIRE  (May 2009)
"The music I love most right now is a preview of Ombrophilia, the
debut album by my friend Tomoko Sauvage, due from Seattle
label and/OAR later this year. Ombrophilia means 'an abnormal
love of rain'. Tomoko uses wooden cooking spoons to strike and
stir Chinese rice bowls filled with water. The wobbly, chiming
vessels turn tuned water into a sort of natural synthesizer,
complete with organic forms of envelope, modulation, pitchbend
and decay. Track titles like 'Amniotic Life' reveal that she's drawn
inspiration from the fluid sounds of her recent pregnancy - her
own internal 'waters' and the new life moving within them. This is
super-quiet music, filled with something sweeter and sexier than
rock's morbid, normative love of pain. When Tomoko plays it live,
water dripping from a pierced polythene bag hung from the ceiling
not only adds a kind of random percussion, but scatters
reflections off the lit water surface across the walls and ceiling.
The result is soothing, seductive and sensual, like a long hot
bath. I could soak in it forever." (Momus)

Sauvage first came to my attention through a YouTube video of
her performing on waterbowls in Paris. She has a set of
graduated-sized porcelain bowls filled with varying amounts of
water that she plays like a percussion instrument with a couple of
wooden kitchen spoons, accompanied by an electronic drone and
drum track or electronic shruti box. Same principle as playing a
glass harmonium, harmonica or harp (like the wine glasses in the
video above): fill a receptacle with water and make it vibrate. The
water acts as an amplifier as well as determining what note the
receptacle 'plays' by how much liquid you make resonate. The
water bowls, Instead of being rubbed to make them resonate (as
you do with Tibetan singing bowls), are struck like a xylophone.
The cool thing about this method is that the tone can be varied a
little by stirring the water, which adds a vibrato. The struck bowls
have a bell-like tone similar to struck singing bowls, one that's
deeper and more resonant than glasses."  (Lee Kottner)