Asa-Chang & Junray Senaka

[Leaf; 2004]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: onkyo, electro-organic
Others: Otomo Yoshihide, Björk

I'm absolutely in love with Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's prognostication about pornography, namely "you know it when you see it." I thought it was so functionally elegant the first time I read it, I was grinning for the rest of the day. I was singing the praises of it to my parents, friends, teachers... whoever would hear it. So, that's probably why I tend to apply its aural analog when listening to music. What's great music, you might ask? Well, you know it when you hear it.

Sure enough, I put on this absolutely minuscule recording which I'd gotten solely on the recommendation of an ostensibly sound source, and my mind wandered at first. I think it was less that the music of Senaka was working its charms on me than my computer has a hypnotic allure. In any case, after a few minutes of inattentiveness, the music crystallized in my mind and I wholly perceived the carnival of sounds that had snuck into existence without my knowing. A revelry of hand-drums, sweet human vocals, strings, and electronic elaborations was the scene that greeted me. Apparently these artists are of the Japanese Onkyo school of music. In Japanese, Onkyo literally means "the reverberation of sound." Accordingly, this a very recent approach to music that places the emphasis on the texture of sounds to the end of capturing the entire range of human emotion. Evaluating these songs with that in mind, it becomes clear that they achieve this goal more wholly and naturally than anything I've heard before. All in a span of 11 minutes of music.

It's such a rare pleasure to have the feeling of exultation Senaka had on me when it finally smacked me in the face with its own elegance. This album likewise had me grinning like a fool and forcing everyone I knew to listen to it. To say that it's the best music I've heard this year would be a gross understatement. It's beyond me to describe it; but suffice it to say, if you do yourself the favor of seeking it out, you'll hopefully understand what I mean.

1. Hana
2. Preach
3. Kobana
4. Nigatsu Bloodthirsty Butchers
5. Goo-Gung-Gung Tokyoska Paradise O
6. Kutsu # 2
7. Jippun
8. Kokoni Sachiari
9. Tabla Bol (Catastrophe)
10. Radio-No-Youni (Comme a la Radio)
11. Kutsu

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