YOSHIO MACHIDA: Hypernatural #3 (Baskaru)


Posted on Oct 14th 2008 12:34 am

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Yoshio Machida: Hypernatural #3

Hypernatural #3
Baskaru 2008
08 Tracks. 53mins42secs

Yoshio Machida began working on his Hypernatural series in 1997. The first volume in the series was self-released two years later, and the second came out in 2001, on German label Softl Music. Since the Tokyo-based artist has been busy with other experimental projects and has released a handful of records on his own imprint, Amorfon, but this year sees the third and final part of the series.

The first Hypernatural release focused on memory in Eastern Asia, while the second investigated the concepts of transparency, unconsciousness and invisible existence. With Hypernatural #3, Machida turns his attention to oblivion as a one of the many processes of life. Creating sonic pieces from field recordings, electronics and acoustic instruments, Machida presents a captivating journey through tightly held organic sound formations which incorporate essentially natural elements, which, although heavily processed, retain some elements of their original aspect.

Machida’s elegant textured soundscapes appear prematurely aged and roughened, often resulting in the pieces sounding grainy and slightly out of focus, as if decay was attacking their very core. Pieces such as Ocean Of Memory, with its ever-changing treated steel pan, drowned in pools of echo and distortions, Scene 16: Retrospective Future, full of complex sonic variations, or Scene 27: Symphony, which at times evokes a hugely amplified ice melting process, appear particularly distressed, while the thirteen minute epic title track, which closes, goes through various phases of decomposition, yet appears strangely uniform thoughout, as a metallic tone goes in and out of focus while forest noises float above. It is a different process that is expose here; as components are progressively ground down to nothing, similar ones take over and the process is repeated with almost mechanical precision.

Elsewhere, Machida deals with seemingly more consistent forms, especially on the rarefied Silhouette or Siesta, but here again it is the sensation of progressive loss and ineluctable slip toward emptiness that prevails.  Yet, Machida doesn’t expose these as sombre and fatalist moments. While it is in essence destructive, decay is part of life as much as conception. On this record, Machida uses sounds in various stages of erosion and collects every usable substance to generate new structures. It is, after all, the very point of decay, to destroy the old and frail and fuel the new and fresh. On Camouflage, and even more so on Scene 05: Bubbles, Machida uses fragments of conversations and field recordings extensively, to the point where music is almost entirely absent of the latter.

With this album, Yoshio Machida has created a strangely compelling piece of work. The attention to detail and the subtle relevance of the treatment applied to the various sound sources serve the compositions rather well, and while the leading concept is somewhat abstract, it transpires through the work and becomes more concrete as the record progress. While it could at first sound like an obscure and arid record, Hypernatural #3 is actually very much at human scale and deserves to be heard.


Yoshio Machida | Baskaru
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