“Two Novels: Gaze / In the Cochlea” reviewed by The Wire

With sleeve notes by Christian Marclay (who recorded her tapping her feet on the floor for his Footsteps record) and guest collaborations with the likes of Kaffe Matthews, Toshio Kajiwara, DJ Olive and Ikue Mori, Keiko Uenishi aka o.blaat’s debut album is something of an event. The album is split into two sections – the second to be heard trough headphones. The sounds produced on “Gaze” range from abstract electronic squigglings to high-pitched beats that unexpectedly phase into walls of static and falling water. Assisted on one track by sound modulators aki Onda and Akio Mokuno, o.blaat’s high tech computer music suddenly, and enjoyably, becomes embroiled in Onda’s more basic push-button cassete recorder loopings. Elsewhere her meeting with Ikue Mori produces a sublime electronic sound collage of distant voices and melting glacier effects that reverberates with psychedelic colours. On “In the Cochlea”, her mood is more minimalist and sensitive, a personalised conrontation with the listener. although fascinating, the latter’s more a selection of tone poems than a gripping novel.

Edwin Pouncey

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