Yoshi Wada - the Appointed Cloud (CD EM Records)
What I really like about Yoshi Wada’s work is that while the influence of La Monte Young and Fluxus types such as George Maciunas are very obviously present he has done more than just be influenced by them. He’s taken what he’s learnt from them (and there’s plenty here that owes a lot to the Second Dream of the High-tension Line Stepdown Transformer) and developed it into something that is uniquely his own rather than just being part of the ever expanding line up of drone artists. He’s taken drone as a starting point and added to it to a wide range of dynamics, changes in instrumentation, speed and intensity.
The Appointed Cloud was something of a first for Yoshi and this recording captures the opening performance. It was a first in that he changed the way he worked and for this piece he used a computer program that triggers a self-made 80 pipe organ as well as gongs, sirens and a suspended metal sheet. Over this Wada, Bob Drombowski and Wayne Hankin play bagpipes ( a recurring instrument in Wada’s work and one ideally suited to drone pieces) and Michael Pugliese plays percussion.
The results are rather spectacular, all the more so for this being a live recording rather than something overdubbed and corrected in the studio. The piece moves through various intensities with different elements being allowed space to take centre stage, whether they are gongs or bag pipes, with different moods and feels all coming through. Underneath all this is Wada’s interest in letting the combination of the different drone sounds generate undertones and strange harmonics that all contribute to making this piece so successful. Certainly one of the highlights of Yoshi Wada’s catalogue. DB