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Yagihashi Tsukasa - Automatic
CD-R (Chiba, Japan)


Yagihashi Tsukasa - Pen & Paper, Effectors
Recorded April - June 2004

(Dead Angel) Shades of Aube -- here Tsukasa, who plays alto sax on the Kumisuru disc reviewed elsewhere in this issue, serves up twelve cryptic blocks of sound made from the heavily-processed sound of pen on paper. One would expect such a simple and minimal sound transmission device would result in a static series of monochromatic sounds, but no, the pieces are distinctly varied. The pieces were recorded from April to June of 2004 in Chiba, Japan, and I suspect the cover drawings are samples of the original source material. Those familiar with Aube's early strategies with the use of one unusual sound source to create many varied soundscapes will recognize the technique at work here, although Tsukasa's preference for reverb and unpredictable movements drag the pieces out of the realm of pure noise and into the borderlands of improv. No matter what you call it, this is definitely not pop music, and the tones can get harsh -- turn this up too loud and some of the more grotesque sounds may turn your speakers into toast. For bonus points and an additional good time, play this on your boombox while walking down the street and see what happens. - RKF

(Aiding & Abetting No. 275) So here's the deal. Tsukasa recorded himself drawing and then effected all that noise to the nth degree. That's it. Twelve tracks of a guy drawing. Hoo boy. If ever there was a question as to what is music and what is not, this album illustrates it better than anything else. I won't wade into that argument--I know what I believe. But I also believe that just about everyone who hears this will agree that is is art. And not just the drawings, which might be best described as "abstract Steadmanianism" (if the two included on the sleeve here are any indication), but the sounds themselves. After a while, a primal rhythm begins to flow from the deep scribbling. There is structure and purpose. And the added processing doesn't hurt, either. Folks like me will hear this and orgasm immdiately. I mean, this is some of the coolest shit I've ever heard. You want melody? Go somewhere else. This is for the true believers, those who treasure unique sounds and those who make them. - Jon Worley

(Chain DLK) I suppose somebody has done that before somewhere, but this is the first solo pen-on-paper+effects disc I come across, and somehow I am not surprised it's from a Japanese artist on Public Eyesore, home of all things strange and rare. Recorded in 2004, "Automatic" features twelve tracks of quite interesting and varied improvisation, given the limited instruments Yagihashi used (by the way, the cover art features two of the resulting drawings, I think). The pen squeals and screeches through an array of delays, distortion, and whatnot; sometimes it sounds more electronic, sometimes it could be mistaken for a sax (maybe not surprisingly, since Yagihashi also plays alto sax) or a trumpet, of course in the played-as-an-object style (think of the Creative Sources roster). My main problem with the disc is that it's frankly too long for me to sit down and enjoy it from start to end; but the central section is really good and successful, beyond the initial curiosity effect. - Eugenio Maggi

(Ampersand Etcetera) On the cover are a pair of drawings – doodles of lines darting across the page, shaking with a wave, circling, shimmering. In effect they are scores for 2 of the 12 pieces, as what Tsukasa does is record his pen on paper and then effect (manipulate?) it. Scrabbling percussive scraping squeaking echoed ambient music – the different effectors lead to subtle variation in timbre, tone and texture. And there seems to be occasional whistling? Freeform sound that ebbs flows and shifts in the way that a drawing being drawn would. From the edge, but strangely mesmerising. - Jeremy Keens

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