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ryoji ikeda - 1000 Fragments
A reissue of Ryoji Ikeda's incredible 1995 debut album, Raster Noton have at long last made this key work available once again. Originally released via the artist's own label CCI Recordings, 1000 Fragments shows us a different side to this most influential and accomplished contemporary minimalist. The album can be compartmentalised into three distinct subsections: Channel X (1985-1995), 5 Zones (1994-95) and Luxus (1993). The nine pieces that make up Channel X tend toward fragmentary, short-form outbursts of radio broadcasts and other such transmissions and recordings. This is the same kind of Dadaist sound collage as was The Hafler Trio's 1984 LP, "Bang" - An Open Letter, focussing on voices chopped and spliced together to form absurd, almost conversational narrative, intercut with carefully composed outbursts of noise and electronic signals. The final piece in this section, 'Absructures' not only heralds the next cycle of more minimally-geared compositions, but to some degree anticipates where Ikeda would be heading in his later career: into a universe spun from sine waves and the most infinitesimal of sound particles. '5 Zones' announces itself with a thick, atonal hum - like the low rumble of some enormous, unseen appliance, soon erupting into a morse-code monologue. These elements die away and recur as 5 Zones continues, eventually embracing a primordial, hyper-minimal beat structure halfway through 'Zone 3'. As a crescendo of sorts, the high register activity detunes into an organ-like configuration of drones and pitches, eventually succumbing to an unexpected but very beautiful seascape recording. Finally, Luxus sounds like it might well be an electroacoustic reworking of Gyorgi Ligeti's 'Lux Aeterna' (although that's speculation on my part), immersing choral micropolyphony into a vibrant, echoic canyon of subtle electronic treatments. Another indispensable and absolutely beautiful object of desire from Raster Noton - ESSENTIAL PURCHASE!