Akio Suzuki and Aki Onda continue their infinite exploration of space on new album for Room40, share title track “KE I TE KI”

Akio Suzuki and Aki Onda continue their infinite exploration of space on new album for Room40, share title track "KE I TE KI"
Photo: Yoshiyuki Sakuragi

Whoever first called it “musique concréte” must have lived in a pretty boring apartment, I’ll tell you that. Why not “musique linoléum, cloison sèche, et matériaux assortis autres”? Really rolls right off the tongue…

If nothing else, it would be a far more appropriate term for the works of Akio Suzuki and Aki Onda. The two explorative Japanese sound artists have each spent most of experimental music’s lifetime discovering relationships between sounds and spaces through architecture, natural environments, and unique venues. Together, they are continuing this trajectory — boldly, “where no [person] has gone before” — on their forthcoming album, KE I TE KI, due November 2 on Lawrence English’s Room40 label.

Room40 is a new but suitable home for these vanguard artists. The instructor-creator-shaman Suzuki has collaborated with English before, and the exploration of sonic architectures and audiences is far, far away from unexplored territory for the label.

KE I TE KI was recorded in Fall of 2015 at The Emily Harvey Foundation, described by Onda as “a SoHo loft-style art space that was once the studio of Fluxus founder George Maciunas.” It was recorded live over the course of two nights, surrounded by a packed audience and a floorfull of gear:

My role was to set an assortment of “scenes” with field recordings, sustained drones generated by an industrial electric fan, and electronic tones and pulses from radios, et cetera. Akio then built upon these with layers of melodies and rhythmic patterns, while we both engaged in fabricating distinctive texture and timbre. Akio kept changing his instruments — such as the Analapos, the stone flute, discarded objects, et cetera — bringing surprises and sudden changes, creating contrast and powerful tension.

Below you can stream the premiere of the record’s first and title track. With phasers set aptly to stun, the piece squeaks and shudders through time and space. Headphone listening is required.

Once you’re done, head here or here to pre-order KE I TE KI — and learn more about tapemaster Aki Onda by reading his in-depth interview with TMT. Onda and Suzuki have always been trekking towards the discovery of something else. They ride a Möbius strip of cassette tape, exploring the spaces in our world since others aren’t quite yet available. What they’ve found is life —odd, plasticky life. Certainly not as we know it.

KE I TE KI tracklisting:

01. KE I TE KI
03. HI KA RI

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