Following on from acclaimed recent releases on Hallow Ground and Boomkat’s Documenting Sound series, NOISEEM is a major new work from Japanese sound artist/instrument inventor Yosuke Fujita, who performs under the name FUJI||||||||||TA. Where Fujita’s recent recorded output has focussed primarily on documentation of his remarkable self-built pipe organ, NOISEEM is the culmination of half a decade of work with highly amplified water. The evocative and timbrally rich sound of water has inspired concrete and experimental music practices since ground-breaking works such as Hugh Le Cain’s ‘Dripsody’ and Knud Viktor’s obsessively aquatic ‘Images’. However, other than his compatriot Tomoko Sauvage, few have explored the possibilities of water in live performance to the extent that Fujita has, constructing a series of water tanks that, with their pumps and amplification controlled by the performer, become a new musical instrument.
The recordings contained here are drawn from live performances in Tokyo and London, edited and mixed by Fujita into two side-length pieces dominated by water, pipe organ, voice and subtle electronics. On ‘AWA’, which occupies the LP’s first side, the listener is immediately immersed in an aqueous world of recognisable drips and splashes, as well as more mysterious squeaks and squawks. While the liberal use of delay at times conjures up the sound world of early electronic music, the sparklingly clear amplification is unmistakably contemporary, lending the music a stunning weight and tactility. Building over several minutes, the piece eventually comes to a rapid boil, criss-crossed by washes of white noise splashes of electronics, before the untempered long tones of the pipe organ enter. The slowly shifting harmonies lend the remainder of the side a meditative, almost oneiric quality, inviting listeners to lose themselves in the aquatic layers that ripple across the harmonic foundation.
On the second side, ‘UZU’ begins more starkly, with a single rapid bubble, quickly joined by full-spectrum wooshes and silvery, ringing tones. After a few minutes, the music undergoes a radical, entirely unexpected shift with the entry of a distorted, auto-tuned voice that repeatedly cycles through ascending and descending melodies. Left alone at times to be heard acapella, this mysterious element at times takes an odd resemblance to dhrupad singing. Eventually joined by rich, sonorous chords from the organ, the high tones of Fujita’s voice, and water, the piece takes on an ecstatic quality, channelling the sublime expansiveness of the natural element on which it is built. Disappearing as abruptly as they entered, the voices then make way for a haunted coda of isolated drips and distant whistles. Far from the intellectualised abstraction of much sound art, NOISEEM is strikingly immediate, both rigorously experimental in its explorations and unashamedly direct in its musicality.
released November 12, 2021
All music performed and composed by FUJI||||||||||TA
Live recording at London mixed by Makoto Oshiro
Live recording in Tokyo mixed by Kimitoshi Sato
Re-mixed by FUJI||||||||||TA
Mastering by Noel Summerville
Cover image by Tomohiko Tagawa
Design by Gareth Horner