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Obscure Tape Music of Japan Vol. 18: Echoes


"'Emerald Tablet' was recorded at the NHK electronic-music studio in 1978. It is made up of only the sonic ingredients of a tubular bell, cymbals, and 'kin,' a largish-sized bell used for Buddhist memorial services in Japan. The attack of the sound of each instrument was eliminated, and the work was taped through repeated overdubbing. This produced a variety of beautiful harmonics that otherwise could not be produced from a single instrument's sound, and the interference of harmonics created beats, generating a fantastical melody in the high tone range. Harmonics are one of the most mystic phenomena in the world. The wonder of harmonics led me to produce 'Emerald Tablet.' 'Echoes' was composed for the "Mist, Sound, and Light Festival," a 10-day event organized by the hot spring tourist association of Kawaji, Tochigi Prefecture, that was held on May 20-29, 1981. The venue was located at the Kawaji hot spring's Ojika river valley, which was 50 meters wide and 200 meters long with an area of 7,000 square meters. Eight large loudspeakers were set up on hills surrounding the stream, with music played through an octuple channel-tape system. The combined length of cables connected with the loudspeakers exceeded one kilometers. The audience was amidst dense artificial mists spreading upward from the bottom of the valley, laser light beams projected on the hill surface, and tape music that played in extremely low tone at full blast, echoing in the valley. 'Echoes' consists of the sonic ingredients of the three types of percussion instruments used in 'Emerald Tablet' as well as my own voice. I lost the master tapes of both 'Echoes' and 'Emerald Tablet' because of my poor storage of them. When this CD was planned to be produced using copies of the master tapes, the sound quality had deteriorated over more than 30 years of time, with sound distortions found in 'Echoes' as a result of a failure in audio mixing to turn an eight-channel into a four-channel system. But Mr. Sumihisa Arima completely removed all dirty parts of the copies, giving this CD a freshly-minted sound. I even feel as if its sound is better than the original one. Without Mr. Arima, it would be impossible to release the two pieces again. I appreciate his help." --Somei Satoh (English translation: Toshiyuki Kawata); Housed in a cardboard paper gatefold sleeve. Includes newly-written liner notes by the artist in Japanese and English. Edition of 500 copies.