After releasing one of the year’s most remarkable records with ‘iki', Japanese pipe-organ builder and sound artist Yosuke Fujita returns with this remarkable 40 minute contribution to our Documenting Sound series, recorded in a cave at the foot of Mt. Fuji and featuring his custom-built pipe organ in duet with a colony of bats indigenous to the area. It’s a beautiful, quietly extraordinary trip.
Traditional Japanese gagaku, the slow and elegant form of classical court music extant since the 7th century, is once again at the heart of this material, but this time in a modulated, interwoven tapestry with what Fujita calls the "inaudible sounds” of nature around him. ‘KŌMORI.’ Named after the Japanese word for bats, revolves around three long pieces, including one for organ and bats, an organ solo, and one created solely from bat calls, all neatly captured using a Sunken CO-100K microphone capable of recording up to 100kHz, and therefore able to net the bats’ ultrasonic echolocation tekkers.
Furthering Fujiiiiiiiiiiita’s fascinations with sounds on the threshold of perception, in the first piece he presents a duet for organ and bats, tones turn to near silence, and then a strobing attack on the senses, while the 2nd part features organ solo around plaintively enchanting motifs, and the third, perhaps most moving part, commits 15 mins of totally otherworldly bat sounds ready to be deciphered by the keenest ears.
For anyone who copped ‘Iki,’ this will no doubt be a buy-on-sight item, and for everyone else, welcome to a world of utterly enthralling, surprising new sounds.
"I'm always looking for new sounds. That desire is at the heart of my life, so it remained the same in the turbulence of the coronavirus. And, I’m also looking for inaudible sounds, so it's natural for me to focus on the bat's echolocation.
Bats were the source of the viruses causing Ebola, rabies, Nipah and Hendra virus infections, Marburg virus disease, and strains of Influenza A virus. Interestingly, coronaviruses and bats are locked in an evolutionary arms race in which the viruses are constantly evolving to evade the bat immune system and bats are evolving to withstand infections from coronaviruses. My music also has to evolve."