Tashi Wada - FRKWYS Vol. 14: Nue LP


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Label: RVNG Intl.

Our Review:

For much of the last decade, RVNG Intl.'s FRKWYS series has paired contemporary leftfield artists with their musical forebears, spurring first-time yet strongly intuitive collaborations. With Nue, Tashi Wada's ensemble – featuring his father, the famed sound artist Yoshi Wada – makes a strong play for the series's strongest and most engrossing title yet.

With titles referencing the geologic and the ritualistic – "Aubade," "Litany," "Niagara," "Fanfare" – the tracks on Nue amass and shed layers of drone and overtone, shades of melody and sheets of reverberating space. The pieces assemble themselves around the inexorable pull of Yoshi Wada's bagpipes, their reedy, earthen blare both tempered and enriched by quizzical, ascending keyboard phrases, undulating clouds of percussion, queasy electrical thrum, and wordless vocals. Wada's group has created a suite of music with the heft and depth of dub, densely detailed with fluttering blurs of string and drone, glissandi like shrieking tendrils of sound as they escape upward. And where are those klaxons coming from?

Wada's ensemble swells and heaves and rests with a mesmerizing and sublime organicity and sense of mood. Much of Nue is a deeply unnerving listen, charting territory where curiosity curdles to dread, no less claustrophobic for all of its blasted space. As with its closest analogs – Tony Conrad, Phill Niblock, Ellen Arkbro – this is music best heard, and felt, loud.