Yoshi Wada – The Appointed Cloud (EM CD)

Yoshi Wada is one of the great still unheard minimalists. Born in Japan, Wada studied with La Monte Young in the late 1960s and later with Pandit Pran Nath. He made a number of remarkable drone based recordings, which have recently begun to be reissued, such as last year’s “The Rise and Fall of the Elephantine Crocodile”. The Appointed Cloud was prepared as an interactive sound installation for the Great Hall of the New York Hall of Science in 1987, where the performance from which this recording was made also took place. Sound is produced by “80 organ pipes, giant hanging sheet metal strip, sirens and steam pipe gong” which are controlled by a computer. The sound is colossal, and builds on the resonant possibilities of the Great Hall and the just intonation tuning systems that Wada learnt about from Young. The sound is drone based, but it is quite varied, shifting from rumbling subsonic percussive sounds to passages of bagpipe like repetitive arpeggiated chords, to a throbbing dense bass drone. All in all a key addition to our understanding of the minimalist diaspora.

Originally published in Signal to Noise, 2008.

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