Magnificent 1987 recordings of bagpipes, sirens, sheet metal and computers by the late, great Yoshi Wada, who recently passed away, aged 77, on May 18th, 2021. For the uninitiated, it’s a huge RIYL Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, Stephen O’Malley, Kali Malone, Jen Lucy Allen’s book ’The Foghorn’s Lament’
Hailed by the inspirational artist as a personal favourite among his own recordings, ‘The Appointed Cloud’ is a strikingly enduring testament to Wada’s keen pursuit of mind-altering drone overtones. Meant to be played at high volume, where the interplay of layered overtones become more clearly apparent, it’s a masterpiece of its ilk, demonstrating the Fluxus artist’s improvisational instincts at their most attuned, searching and powerfully heightened. It’s a music of eons, extending and making relevant ancient traditional practices for the modern day, and with it inducing the rarest psychoacoustic sensations and insights to the metaphysics of sound; essentially factoring the original acoustic aspects by computerised means in order to possibly make contemporary listeners feel as awed as we imagine pre-electronic audiences would have experienced with the raw might of bagpipes or early organ music.
Wada’s music is actually perfect listening for anyone who thinks they’ve heard it all, and need a reminder of the mystery of sound’s elemental forces. ‘The Appointed Cloud’ is one of only a small handful of Wada's recordings that made it to physical formats - his work was always regarded better experienced in the flesh, at volume - and can be held up alongside other totemic enigmas of the C.20th such as Harley Gaber’s ‘The Winds Rise In The North,’ another side whose magisterial scope and effect remains at the peripheries - awaiting discovery by intrepid ears. The new mastering by Stephan Mathieu beautifully highlights Wada’s resounding performance and almost imperceptible electronics aspects by David Rayna (collaborator of La Monte Young), transposing the grandeur of the Greta Hall of the New York Hall of Science to your own living space intact, and encouraging the ear to really rove its incredible space and enchanted waves of air. If you aren’t shivering when those bagpipes drop we can’t help you, soz.