KEN IKEDA – Mist on the Window-CD-Spekk From the moment of seeing and touching the sensuous booklet cover that has come to epitomise each Spekk release, I knew that this was going to be something quite special. Ken Ikeda, is a relatively new name to the minimalism scene, with only a small clutch of releases, but he is already firmly established on the Touch roster, and now makes his debut appearance for home country label, Spekk.

Ikeda appears to be immersed in a sound world that is in constant flux and experimentation. He keeps audible diary recordings of his experiences with sound, and then uses this as reference material to inform his composition. ‘Mist on the Window’ stands in stark contrast to ‘Merge’ (Touch), which hit the tinnitus-inducing higher registers of the tonal spectrum to create disorienting washes of sound. This release uses a home made instrument made of elastic bands stretched over nails as the foundation stone of the recording, giving the whole collection a sense of warmth, and Zen-like restraint.

Ikeda adds richness to his work by including a short statement of intent on each release, giving the listener a unique insight into his world. Of this release he states..’….by assimilating these everyday sounds, I get away from the everyday me and get closer, little by little, to the universe of eternity and nothingness…’ and later he states..’…I enter a personal time and space which could never be shared with others’. One senses that as for many of us, Ikeda’s immersion in his art is not only a form of escapism, but has a purging effect, cleansing the mind and soul, and connecting with the ethereal world of the spirit. In turn, the listener is not only drawn into this world, but is involved in that self same process.

This deeply personal philosophy becomes the touchstone of this body of work, which has a dreamy, evanescent quality. The elastic band instrument provides a textural, and harmonic backdrop to what appears to be guitar and sampled electronics. This is best exemplified on ” A Part of Shunkin” with its effervescent refrain and fractured harmonies, or “iki”, where the elastic bands are plucked over a stratified tonal wash. “Day Moon” opens over sparse, granular electronics and plucked or delicately struck elastic bands, demonstrating the scope and versatility of this child-like instrument. These are obviously deeply considered pieces, and each track opens up a new window into Ikeda’s world. This, for me, is perhaps the finest release on the Spekk label so far, and as an art object in itself a delight of personal exploration and immersion. BGN


About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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