From a very simple premise, that of inviting experimental musicians and sound workers to interpret the film work of a renowned Japanese director, comes a startling and invigorating panoply of sounds and visions in the form of the and/OAR double CD release, “Hitokomakura”.
Interlocking at the threshold of perception, “pillow shots” are a device that film directors utilise to cut away between “action” or narrative, a discrete segue that mainstream directors and audiences alike invariably attach little significance to, in preference of the more meaty intricacies of production, plot, narrative, action and acting . Yasujiro Ozu, famed in the main for his intimate portraits of the everyday, a series of seemingly mundane occurences finely wrought in hyperreal detail, and a gentle, enveloping pace,(his work seemingly composed entirely of overlapping pillow shots in themselves) has become the focus of attention for label curator, and cinephile Dale Lloyd.
Hitokomakura is without doubt, Lloyd’s labour of love, and like the recently released Extract booklet by NVO, shares a similar, towering roster of some 25 artists,of varying pedigree. To focus attention on any one artist from such a wealth of talent would be to relegate others of equal stature, so I will save any kind of musical analysis or critique for those braver and better than I.
One unique selling point of this scintillating double CD pack is that it is enhanced by the addition of a series of Windows and Mac compatible pdf files, that house some of Ozu’s images, and gives the artists an opportunity to describe their approach. Very often, source material is gleaned from the most obtuse and elliptical angles, and each artist defines their approach concisely, elevating this release way above it’s contemporaries for sheer entertainment value alone. Needless to say, most of the soundworks on display here are subtle workings and reworkings of pillow shots, or in some cases take the pillow shots, or other fundamental elements of Ozu’s ouevre as the point of departure, a catalyst for musical inspiration that in most instances touches on beautifully nuanced, meditative works of Zen-like ambience.
No longer a fledgling label, and/OAR has gained ground and reputation on a series of releases with an almost obsessive focus on field recording, and it’s associated personnel, and on Hitokomakura, Lloyd simultaneously reconfigures the definition of what field recording actually is, and in turn presents us with a simulacra, a second hand field recording at a distance, but nevertheless, a singularly beautiful collection of sounds ,images and texts..this is the kind of stuff that I live for…exceptional. BGN