Boomkat Product Review:
Humid and lush concrète excursions from acclaimed Japanese composer Hideki Umezawa and ambient tropicalia explorer Andrew Pekler, investigating audiovisual topographies with a fathoms-deep approach to soundscaping that sits somewhere between the GRM’S laboratory-controlled composition, Rhythm & Sound's vapor trails and the lush enviro-ambient sojourns of Jan Jelinek’s best known work.
Amami Ōshima is an island in Japan's Ryukyus, and was the isolated base of painter Isson Tanaka until his death in 1977. Andrew Pekler has never visited the island, but following on from his "Sounds of Phantom Islands" full-length (which interpreted the unique sound worlds of islands that appeared on historical maps but never existed), he conjures his own projection of its peculiar landscape. In doing so, he manages to reflect "the spirit of Isson Tanaka", allowing blurred drones to echo and reverberate around multi-dimensional environmental recordings, sounding like some imagined mooch round a tropical bird sanctuary at dusk.
On the flipside, Hideki Umezawa makes use of location recordings made on the island with fellow explorers Seiha Kurosawa and Kanako Azuma for a video installation focused around Isson Tanaka's life. His piece attempts to evoke a snapshot of the island's soundworld, augmenting its "simulated ecology" with rumbling synthetic drones, gong sounds and smudged hi-def textures. The colorful juxtaposition of sounds reflects the island's evocative landscape, but also Tanaka's visual style; the painter was known for his natural landscapes that often dipped into pure fantasy - a vivid rural hallucination.