Keiichiro Shibuya is a name I have only recently become acquainted with, and as curator and organiser of the Japan – based ATAK label, and as a sound worker in his own right, he is building a considerable reputation in Japan and around the world for his outstanding live performances, recordings and collaborations. ATAK as a label, has taken some of the aesthetic qualities, production values, and thematic interests initiated by Raster Noton. Every product is exquisitely packaged, and the design elements are spare and elegant, each release intelligent and considered.
For ATAK 10, “filmachine phonics”, Shibuya presents a series of abstract, abrasive sound pieces, formed from algorithmic software programmes, such as Logistic Map, and sndchanger. At once harsh and elemental, these works are models of non-linear dynamics, sounds that emulate the characteristics of chaotic systems; systems that hover between stability, and chaos, experiments that settle into equilibrium, and then spiral into disorder. Best appreciated under headphones, this is a three dimensional soundwork that shifts around the audible spectrum, locating itself not only within the stereo field, but also moving around vertically and even on the diagonal.
At just on 20 minutes, this is a brief, but incisive experimental piece, with highly detailed operating descriptions, and sleeve notes that read like a physics manual. The sound varies from abrasive, and constantly mutating figures, to tense, and agonising edifices that build and collapse.
I myself experimented with chaotic systems a couple of years ago, so I feel a deep affinity to this project. In an area of physics that is “difficult”, yet extremely fascinating, and wondrous, Shibuya has excelled with this initial attempt at bringing a chaotic system into some sort of workable operating framework, a fine example of “chaos sound”, the audible equivalent of a Lorenz attractor in motion. For those of you NOT well versed in the finer points of chaos theory, or cellular automata, do not panic – this is a great CD to sit under headphones and listen to..more for experience than explanation… A fine release, and worthy introduction to the work of a rapidly rising personality of the experimental scene, and director of a fine label indeed. Reach for your credit card, and buy a copy now. BGN