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Yu Nishibori & Landon Thorpe - Muno Radiation
CD-R (Tokyo, Japan / Stanford, CA)

-two beats off
-spiky field choir
-a crystaline disturbance
-insects on a summer night
-nickle and sand gesture
-bed of x

Tracks 1-6 recorded live in Tokyo 11/99-8/00
Track 7 recorded 3/01

(Vital Weekly no. 318) More new musicians! I never heard of Yu Nishibori or of Landon Thorpe. Together they play computer, guitar, bass, drums, various percussion and delay. These seven pieces were recorded between November 1999 and August 2000, with one piece from 2001. It's a bit of a strange CD. The opening pieces are improvisations on everything but the computer, but then 'A Crystalline Disturbance' is a hell of lot of computer noise. But then the two tracks after that turn out to be quiet improvisations, ending in a more noisy coda at the end. In the five improvising pieces, things turn out quietly with each instrument having the possibility to grow. This is for me the most interesting part of the release. The large noise piece is not really for me and seems out of place. Even as a counterpoint, it is seems overlong. Which is a pity because it could have easily been left off. -Frans de Waard

(Improvijazzation Nation no. 59) Talk about experimental... East doesn't just meet West on this CD... it nearly overpowers it with the force of static guitar, acoustic strings & percussion... I am reminded of some of the improvised comps I've heard from Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Chris Forsyth, tho' the music on this CD is much more prone to the integration of loops & sample effects. Many listeners will be unable to sit still for the entire performance, as there is an undercurrent of tones/static that can be somewhat disorienting (just what th' players intended, I believe). "Muno" isn't "comfortable" music for parlour listening, but if you want to grasp the full effect of their improvisations, it WILL be necessary to experience it with your headphones on! A very interesting diversion, & definitely a part of today's "move into strange turf" musical environment. Despite the fact that some listeners will freak when they first hear it, I give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - Rotcod ZZaj

(I am Cancer) We will sum it up all in a big lump. sparse sound collages ala the tightening of acoustic guitar strings, and washboard stomachs. strange computer jibberish that is not rubbish, but ruffed. the beatings of drain pipes and the like, oh, and a life source, of course. - Chris Fischer

(Ampersand Etcetera 2002_10) Combining (mainly) guitar with computer (but also, bass, drums, percussion, delay) Nishibori and Thorpe create a music of dichotomies (chalk and cheese, sublime/ridiculous: choose your own terms) whose intersections are, on the whole, successful, but with some harsh edges. 'Two beats off' suggests the methods, and presents a lighter face: an improvised acoustic guitar solo (plinks, scratchy etc) is surrounded by all manner of beasts – burring, noise bursts, hums, white noise, computer music, samples, tones, putters and wooshes – in varying densities and volumes, at times taking the foreground and on occasion quite loud and harsh. But overall adding a dimension to the solo. A similar structure to 'Spiky field choir' – straight guitar with pops crackles noises feedback which all become quite percussive, drops and then builds to a noisy climax. A shift to a more ambient mood in 'Aperture.peg.oat.' with gentle light background noises and the guitar using delay to create tones that sound like harps or horns and then very droney. There are 20 minutes of 'A crystalline disturbance': after a concrete opening of fast samply clatter a percussed guitar enters and becomes obvious as a bass soloing over a light metallic scratching. About a third in some radio squiggles slide through, and then things turn nasty, and the rest is dirty distorted stuttering white noise with rhythms in it, extended a little beyond its welcome in the context of the album. The more engaging mood returns with 'Insects on a summer night' light rhythm, synth woobles and an acoustic solo (scraped, picked) rhythmic chitters (that get quite loud) together with a strange sussurance and some delay/e-bow later. In the only overdubbed track, 'Nickel and sand gesture' mixes a simple acoustic guitar exploration with some electric highlights and simple computer touches, which build towards the end. 'Bed of x' is a short choppy bumpy sampled futzing electro piece creating a firm conclusion. Overall a nice album, where the extras add to the guitar in a positive and enjoyable way, touching on noise to enliven things. For me, most of the crystalline disturbance is a dead spot on the album, but I'll just pass over and enjoy the rest. - Jeremy Keens

(Neozine no. 18) Minimalist spurts of noise and non-musical instrumentation poke holes in the silence and cause mischievous chaos, playing peek-a-boo in the listener's ears. They use computers, guitar, bass, drums, delay, and various percussion...but none of this is used in the conventional way. This whole CD is about subtleties. The dead air is often broken by only the sparsest or quietest of noises, then sometimes drummed up to a chaos almost ranging on consistency. Every twitter and scrape that you hear takes on it's own character, and animates the bleak scenario for the briefest of lifetimes. Pretty interesting, but too vacuous for active listening. Pretty neat. - CHC

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