AMN Reviews: Longstone – Risaikaru [linear obsessional LOr056]

a1933464258_2The title of this new release by the UK electronic group Longstone is Japanese for “recycling.” Recycling here carries many different meanings. First is the impetus behind the recording—the recycling and reconstruction taking place in Japan’s Miyagi prefecture in the wake of the highly destructive tsunami that hit there in 2011. In 2013 Longstone’s Mike Ward visited Onagawa and Enoshima in Miyagi prefecture, taking photographs of post-tsunami rebuilding and making field recordings. Two of these photographs, one from each of the towns Ward visited, served as the inspiration for the two long tracks named for them.

Recycling—of instrumental and sound materials—is at the heart of the resulting music. The instruments include junk percussion, cigar boxes repurposed as guitars, and a (salvaged?) piano frame. Ward’s field recordings are reused as musical elements, while other sounds are recycled through electronic processing. Both Enoshima and Onagawa feature heterogeneous sounds in contrasting relationships, but in both tracks chord progressions or recurring musical motifs provide the continuity and underlying structure that keep them coherent. Onagawa is additionally structured through regular rhythms.

The final two tracks, brief radio remixes of material from the longer tracks, stand as a kind of conceptual witticism on the theme of recycling.

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