Improvised Music from Japan / Aki Onda / Articles & Reviews

Aki Onda, Instants Chavirés, Paris, 10th June 2004

by Dan Warburton

Aki Onda belongs to the younger generation of live electronic performers Luc Ferrari recently described as "les nouveaux concrets" remaining true to the Schaefferian ideal of recontextualising found sound, his equipment of choice is a mixing desk and a couple of Walkmen which he manhandles like Gameboys, standing behind a large table on which are spread dozens of cassettes containing sounds collected on his travels around the world, recorded on a portable machine bought on a Brixton street corner a decade ago. These are woven into a rich, textured fabric that Onda rips open repeatedly using the fast forward and rewind buttons of his Walkman to cue loops with the precision of a DJ. Onda has written that there is "no particular meaning to the use of the cassette recorder" other than it's "portable, economical [and] has quick responses", but the defiantly analogue grain and hiss of old cassette tape is as important a part of his sound world as the crackly Stax samples of old Bristol triphop, a warm mysterious blur out of which fragments of birdsong, conversation and traffic emerge like ghosts.

The Wire, September 2004

Last updated: January 26, 2005