Stephen O’Malley has populated the catalog of his Editions Mego imprint Ideologic Organ with extreme music on both ends of the spectrum. Unrelenting black metal, noise, and/or drone opuses (see: WOLD, Sunn O))) rehearsal recordings, Okkyung Lee) coexist alongside rituals of minimal ambience (see: Jessika Kenney & Eyvind Kang, the almighty Phurpa). Lone, the forthcoming LP from Japanese singer-songwriter Ai Aso, casts its quiet beauty into the latter category.
Ai Aso’s music, played live with utter simplicity on guitar and synth, inches toward a state of sublime non-performance. Her hypnotizing vocal melodies crystallize every close mic-ed syllable into a drop of emotional expression. Her stripped-down incarnation of “acid-folk” inverts the earnest performance style of Kazuki Tomokawa and Keiji Haino to its polar opposite: no spit flies, no strings break, no ear plugs are required. Songs emerge as benevolent whispers under the dimmed lights of a café. Many of Lone’s compositions have appeared in previous incarnations on Aso’s severely limited physical releases (like あいだ [Aida], her 2009 album on PSF). Their words and sentiments reach us through this live performance recorded in 2012 as sincere remembrances of her past, at once weighed down and liberated by the passage of time.
On “Date,” streaming below, Aso trades her guitar accompaniment for a narcotic two-chord keyboard progression. In the right mindset, the juxtaposition of her vocals against the shrill oscillations and percussive attacks of her synth notes will lull you into a trance. Concentrate, and let go.
Lone arrives on March 31. You can order it now.
• Ideologic Organ: http://editionsmego.com/releases/ideologic-organ