Fragments is the conclusion of my triptych electronics works started in 2016 with Dew Drops (clang040) and followed 2017 by Premonition (clang050). Although these three works differs in texture, there are a few rules that I stuck with when I was working on them. One was that all the pieces were to be constructed from improvised performance. Another one was that each projects were directed to achieve a specific feeling I wanted to express in my personal association with ‘electronic music’ that had an strong influence on me.
The pieces in Fragments connects to the feeling of my memories trapped in the old recorded materials I accumulated over the years. The earlier recordings were made with non-professional cassette recorder with a build-in microphone and I recorded anything related to music from rehearsals to ambient sounds to radio broadcast to private music lessons, etc… After a few recycled use of the same tape, I unintentionally created my own Musique Concréte master pieces, only to be thrown away when cassette tape became obsolete and unwanted. But a few survived in a shoe box sitting in my closet. When I listened back to these mish-mash of recordings, I realized that not only the subject of the recording, but the inevitable limitations of the medium and the recording equipment used, and a variety of unintended factors all contributed to tell a story from fragmented moments of my life. I was very much attracted to the ‘intimacy’ of these recordings and wanted to create a small pieces to express that feeling without using the actual recordings from the past.
The making process of Fragments was quite simple (as in my previous triptych works). I gathered various not-so-professional musical instruments and electronic gadgets sitting around in my apartment and recorded a few rounds of improvisations for each instrument. I set myself to stay out of any particular musical style or pattern, and try to focus on getting the sound of the instrument to ‘tell a simple story’. Then using a low-bit sampler software, I performed another round of improvisations using the previously recorded improvisation materials. Some of them went thru cassette recorder and toy sampler keyboard for further audio manipulation. I spent most of my time choosing and mixing the right passages and phrases to construct the final structure.
Thank you always for listening – Satoshi Takeishi
There’s an earnest sonic revelry about the final piece of Takeishi’s triptych that started with 2016’s Dew Drops followed by 2017’s Premonition. Taking an eclectic selection of mostly childish acoustic instruments as a source – broken autoharps and toy pianos, thumb pianos, “African Marimba from Gift Shop” (delightfully honest), and sampling and processing them into abstract electronic shapes that have an improvised impulsiveness and energy gives us a 10-track, 43-minute work of quite purist electronica.
The high glockenspiel and bell tones are dominant, forming it into a sort of twisted lullaby arrangement most notable on pieces like If I See You Again. In amongst that there are deeper more brooding moments, like the fairly sinister Unfolding, and pieces with more of a percussive punch like Fragment I, but in broad terms it stays on a fairly consistent sonic palette throughout.
It’s an enjoyably textured work with an attitude which might lend itself to live performance perhaps a little better than studio recording. The fragile acoustic textures and harsh edges wont be to everyones taste but it’s certainly got its own gritty beauty. (Stuart Bruce)
All pieces composed and performed by Satoshi Takeishi
Recorded by Satoshi Takeishi Nov 2016 – Sep 2017
Mixed and Mastered by ORC, Brooklyn, NY. 2018
Satoshi Takeishi used Broken Autoharp, Old Log Drum, Really Broken Toy Piano, Thumb Piano and African Marimba from Gift Shop, Glockenspiel for Children, Prepared Banjo, Prepared Hammered Dulcimer, SONY Handheld Cassette Recorder, Yamaha VSS30 as Sampler, Various Audio Processing Softwares.
Cover Art by Satoshi Takeishi
With a running time of just over thirty-three minutes, this new one by Japanese multi-instrumentalist Satoshi Takeishi has truly stirred-up my weekend listening. Though he’s been recording with various collaborators since 2003, Fragments is only his third solo album over these many years – his previous were Dew Drops (2016), and Premonition (2017) – both appearing on Danish imprint Clang.
Corrupted Realm opens with a series of percussive thrumming, tweaking strings and some assorted toy sounds. It’s a embossed sound, hollow with a slight reverb. If this were out jazz it would be really far out there. I enjoy sounds of metallic rolling, and the nested Japanese sensibility, that still manages to break with its heritage. The pings and small clanging is layered in a wondrous collage.
Takeishi manages to bring a playful side to his improvisational style by incorporating a host of instruments: Broken Autoharp, Old Log Drum, Really Broken Toy Piano, Thumb Piano and African Marimba from Gift Shop, Glockenspiel for Children, Prepared Banjo, Prepared Hammered Dulcimer, SONY Handheld Cassette Recorder, Yamaha VSS30 as Sampler, Various Audio Processing Softwares. Futura seems to be a series of space-lab blips, in a computer language that will have to be decoded. It’s wired, fueled by bots and striking signals that are stunted and dynamic. With our world becoming more automated and virtual all the time, he brings us a glimpse of a future tailored to our every button click.
The atmosphere is brightly speckled with spontaneous play. On both Initiation and Fragment I he seems to develop an alternate reality, one that would perk up the ears of any faithful science fiction geek, yet he does so under the auspices of the hypothetical. It’s a world that is artificially slowed down, experimenting with all the spare parts of a most inventive toolbox. Every track has its own personality, almost like a tropical haiku. There is this island-style theme running through El Diablo and elsewhere – a bit anxious, exploratory, rattling from the inside-outwardly.
The apparatus seems to fray at the springs on the aptly titled Unfolding. It’s a very tactile set of string plucking, glockenspiel and glossy surfaces coming together in a kaleidoscopic layering if complex sounds that pair well. In the end Fragment II takes us deep inside the mechanisms of an amplified music box. Tiny parts and pieces seem gigantic as Takeishi rustles with the innards, bringing it to life with an anticipatory sense of longing. The animated work recalls childlike dreams of toys frolicking to their own drummer. They are in good hands. (TJ Norris)