Onda, Aki: Brisbane September 25 2004 CASS
From Lawrence English: "It may sound implausible now, but in the early 2000s Australia felt a long way away from the rest of the world. Brisbane, where I still live today, felt even further removed. This remoteness had its challenges, but also its charms. In 2001, Zane Trow then director of the Brisbane Powerhouse invited me to perform at an Open Day for the center with my trio I/O3 and DJ Olive. I didn't realize it at the time, but this engagement would spark a number of connections that tie directly into this edition. Following that live performance (released as Powerhouse Sessions in 2002), I was invited to curate a performance series, Fabrique, focused on new and emergent musics for Brisbane Powerhouse. At the same time, DJ Olive mentioned that he had started a new imprint, Phonomena, with Toshio Kajiwara and one of the first releases they were planning was from Aki Onda, whom Olive described as using a set of Walkmans that make a whole universe. I was intrigued. The following year, Aki Onda not only produced Cassette Memories Volume I 'Ancient And Modern' for Phonomena, but a few months later released a second volume Bon Voyage! with the always inspiring Improvised Music From Japan label. Both of these editions marked out overlapping territories relating to tape music, field recordings and most of all perceptions of memory (how it is lost and then found again, how it can constructed and deconstructed -- sometimes simultaneously). In early 2004, I wrote to Aki and invited him to Australia for a series of performances including two in Brisbane; one at Fabrique and another as part of NineHoursNorth, a dedicated program of Japanese music I was curating at the Judith Wright Centre Of Contemporary Art. Each of Aki's performances typified the expansive nature of his practice. Although the medium and tools may have been identical (cassettes, Walkmans, delay pedals and Fender twin amps), the focus of each performance was markedly different. For NinehoursNorth, Aki deployed the approach he presented on Bon Voyage!, long-form field recordings were re-amped and in the process of their unfolding a perception of time being bent in and out of shape emerged. There was a sense of the strange familiar, as bird songs, cityscapes, voices, instruments and various environments were melted together and reconfigured through the intense volume produced by the amplifiers. For Fabrique, the recording collected on this edition, Aki undertook a more performative method that reflected the sense of pacing and movement collected on Ancient And Modern..."