Koeosaeme – Sonorant

(Orange Milk, 2017)

Although #TotalEclipse2017 was a bust for me – it rained precisely throughout the event of course – not all was lost. I got a ton of these cool glasses that I can’t see through for regular sun viewing, and we all were treated to the sight of the leader of the free world taking in the event without any protective eyewear at all. So hey, that’s a win-win in my book. Plus my grass was dry, it needed the rain.

It is appropriate, then, that Koeosaeme was what I decided to listen to that day. In Ryu Yoshikawa’s world, a red sun eclipses a white background in perpetuity. That connection is hardly a coincidence, as there was a secret I discovered during the eclipse: I ran a bath and listened to Sonorant underneath the water, and it became something completely different, wild electronics smoothing down until all that was left was a mermaid singing about dragon eggs and Harry Potter. The magic, it turns out, was only revealed while listening during the eclipse while totally submerged. Who knew?

I kid of course, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that magic truly exists in Sonorant, especially if you give it a few spins, let it sink in, and hear it evolve over each successive replay. (And, you can do this any day, doesn’t have to be during a total solar eclipse—so it turns out.) Koeosaeme is a master at cramming notes into passages but letting them breathe at the same time, electronic flourishes blasting out of control while simultaneously sketching a foundation whose blank spots you get to fill in with your imagination as you listen. That sounds like a bunch of oxymorons – cramming notes but allowing them space, bombardment as foundation – not an easy thing to pull off. Which is why the magic wand Koeosaeme wields is one that’s Japanese in character and style, and it certainly didn’t come from Ollivander’s shop… goddammit I don’t know why I have Harry Potter on the brain today.

As usual, our friends to the Far East have pioneered a sound that’s not ready to be qualified yet, at least not with words, leaving us Westerners in the dust playing catchup. I mean – we only have, for example, one Elon Musk – it seems like five or six new Elons emerge every day in Japan. Koeosaeme is one of the musical ones, in some ways following in the footsteps of Foodman (footwork is an easy touchpoint) but blazing completely new trails and smashing perceptions into completely different fractals. These shards of sound become visions foretelling future events, and we must study them like the ancients studied the phenomena surrounding eclipses. Perhaps we’ll find new wisdom. More likely we’re just along for the ride.

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