by Lukas Simonis & Takayuki Kawabata
Z6 Records, 2007
Distributed by Korm Plastics and Staaplaat
CD or MP3, Z6 089313, Euros, $12.97 US
Distributors website: http://cdbaby.com/cd/simoniskawabata.
Reviewed by Michael R. (Mike) Mosher
Saginaw Valley State University
This is a project of songs played by the
cellist Kumi Otte Kondo, written and produced
by Lukas Simonis, using lyrics from Japanese
poet Takayuki Kawabata sung by Miki Sugiura.
The entire effect is unnerving, evoking
the distancing of urban life, result of
too many humans brushing up against each
other, as in the subways displayed on
the CD sleeve.
"Shosoku" features an angular
grinding of cello, and bright snippets
of Miki Sugiuras voice, like something
processed and served in a can. On "Original
NEWS" her voice goes from childish
wonder to gruffness, over guitar arpeggios
and chunky chords. "Remixx"
suffers cello stabs and long notes.
"Iyashi", written for Kondos
final exams at the Rotterdam Conservatory
in 2004, was the first song in this project.
A cello saws, while Miki Sugiuras
voice is layered atop it. "Manhole
Theme" includes percussion, multi-tracked
banging on cello, dense audio processing,
then a cooing and trilling female voice.
This is the soundtrack of mildly depressed
people, detached and disaffected, their
depth dismissed and kept at arms length
to meet the incessant demands of contemporary
city life and office work. Both music
and words remind us of the affectless
prose of novelist Banana Yoshimoto, or
the dribbling, horny artwork of "Mr.";
for the parents of the mute, misshapen
baby monster or monster baby figures sculpted
and painted by Izumi Kato. As Kawabata
writes in "News Remikkusu",
"I have nothing to say because tomorrow
will be rain...I am taken away by city