The Squid's Ear Magazine


Suzuki, Akio / David Toop: Breath - Taking (Confront)

Minimal improvisation using a meditative set of instruments including stone flute, small stones, and a "silent toy", from David Toop recording with Akio Suzuki on a rare trip to the UK.
 

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Akio Suzuki-kikkukikiriki, stone flute, small stones, pan pipe, ireba, silent toy

David Toop-flutes, bone whistle, dog whistles, stones, whistling pot, organic materials, feedback device


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Label: Confront
Catalog ID: CONFRONT 14
Squidco Product Code: 11809

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2004
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Sound 323, London on March 15, 2003 by Akinori Yamasaki.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"The best place to listen to ultra-quiet, inner-searching free improvisation is also one of the hardest venues to find: the basement of the Sound 323 record shop, in London, England. Luckily, its owner Mark Wastell releases the best of these intimate performances on Confront CDs that are only barely easier to find. Breath-Taking is the result of one of Akio Suzuki's rare visits to England. Suzuki's music proceeds from meditation and transforms quotidian objects (a stone flute, small stones, a "silent toy") into fragile means of communication. David Toop makes a very compatible sound-mate. Here he uses an assortment of flutes and whistles, along with a whistling pot and "organic materials" (a vague enough description to allow the listener to imagine at will). Upon first listen, one may think of two serious men making childlike music, but the level of contemplation found in this single, 37-minute piece dispels this first impression. The performance is not particularly striking, even from the point of view of such a quiet form of improvisation, but it is obvious that the music doesn't intend to strike or compel. It is born out of such simplicity that it simply exists -- it is there, discreetly inhabiting your listening space, and its sole presence is a marvel. One finds an interesting level of interaction between the artists and inventive, creative sound-making at play, but in the end Breath-Taking is not something to get excited about (either to praise or decry), but to ponder."-François Couture, All Music Guide


Artist Biographies

"Akio Suzuki is known as a pioneer of sound art, but the breadth of his activities and the form of his works far exceeds the normal boundaries of sound art. It is perhaps more as a "quester after sound and space" that he has received the most attention from artists in many fields.Suzuki's journey as an artist began in 1963 with a performance at Nagoya station, in which he threw a bucket full of junk down a staircase. The inspiration behind this performance - the idea that if one were to hurl an object down a well-balanced stairway, a pleasant rhythm might be the result - took the desire to "listen" as its subject. That desire to hear, to listen has remained the one constant in Suzuki's stance as an artist.

During the sixties, Suzuki's sense of playfulness led him to undertake a series of Self-Study Events, where he explored the processes of "throwing" and "following", taking the natural world as his collaborator. The experiences he gained in these events led him in the seventies to invent an echo instrument he named Analapos. The instrument's structure resembles that of two mirrors facing each other, reflecting into infinity. As an extension of the principles underlying Analapos, Suzuki constructed the Hinatabokko no kukan (Space in the Sun) in 1988. This space consists of two huge parallel walls, in between which the artist can sit all day and purify his hearing by listening to the reflected sounds of nature. This space leads the artist to discover a new method of listening. Suzuki himself comments, "Sound, which had been conceptually imprisoned in various spaces, is freed to circle the world."

From the late seventies and through the eighties, Suzuki also developed a form of performance he refers to as Conceptual Soundwork. Applying a number of self-imposed, simple and austere rules, he uses objects close at hand in a mode of "intellectual play". While these events do on the one hand express a critique of meaningless improvised performance, at the same time Suzuki is constantly aware of the audience's process of listening and he attempts to create contemporaneous connections with the site of performance. It was around this time that Suzuki began to travel frequently to the US and Europe, and his performances at leading music festivals, Festival d'Automne (Paris, 1978) and Documenta 8 (Kassel, 1987) were rapturously received.

As sound art enjoyed a period of prosperity in the nineties, Suzuki was given the chance to create many installations, particularly in Berlin. Worthy of special note were his soundless installations, such as Otodate (Echo point, 1996) in Berlin, Enghien-les-Bains (since 1997, http://www.insitu-enghien.org/) and Strasbourg; Hana (Flower, 1997) at the Stadtgalarie Saarbrucken; and Pyramid (1999) which involved people excavating sounds. These soundless pieces were not designed to critique the old perceptual theories of music, rather they questioned the very location of music. Through their encounter with these works, the past experiences and memories of viewers were reconstructed as new experiences. This process was fundamental to the action of "listening" to the works.

From the late seventies and through the eighties, Suzuki also developed a form of performance he refers to as Conceptual Soundwork. Applying a number of self-imposed, simple and austere rules, he uses objects close at hand in a mode of "intellectual play". While these events do on the one hand express a critique of meaningless improvised performance, at the same time Suzuki is constantly aware of the audience's process of listening and he attempts to create contemporaneous connections with the site of performance. It was around this time that Suzuki began to travel frequently to the US and Europe, and his performances at leading music festivals, Festival d'Automne (Paris, 1978) and Documenta 8 (Kassel, 1987) were rapturously received.

As sound art enjoyed a period of prosperity in the nineties, Suzuki was given the chance to create many installations, particularly in Berlin. Worthy of special note were his soundless installations, such as Otodate (Echo point, 1996) in Berlin, Enghien-les-Bains (since 1997, http://www.insitu-enghien.org/) and Strasbourg; Hana (Flower, 1997) at the Stadtgalarie Saarbrucken; and Pyramid (1999) which involved people excavating sounds. These soundless pieces were not designed to critique the old perceptual theories of music, rather they questioned the very location of music. Through their encounter with these works, the past experiences and memories of viewers were reconstructed as new experiences. This process was fundamental to the action of "listening" to the works."

-Akio Suzuki Website (http://www.akiosuzuki.com/web/profile01-en.html)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"David Toop (born 5 May 1949) is an English musician, author, and professor and chair of audio culture and improvisation at the London College of Communication. He was a member of the Flying Lizards and a contributor to the British magazine The Face. He is a regular contributor to The Wire, a British music magazine.

Soon after his birth, his parents moved to Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, where he grew up. He was educated at Broxbourne Grammar School, which he left in 1967 to study at Hornsey College of Art.

Toop published his pioneering book on hip hop, Rap Attack, in 1984. Eleven years later, Ocean of Sound appeared, described as Toop's "poetic survey of contemporary musical life from Debussy through Ambient, Techno, and drum 'n' bass." Since the 1970s, Toop has also been a significant presence on the British experimental and improvised music scene, collaborating with Max Eastley, Brian Eno, Scanner, and others. He is a member of the improvising, genre-hopping quartet Alterations, active from 1977 to 1986 and reforming in 2015. In 2001, Toop curated the sound art exhibition Sonic Boom, and the following year, he curated a 2-CD collection entitled Not Necessarily Enough English Music: A Collection of Experimental Music from Great Britain, 1960Ð1977. More experimentally, Toop has also actively engaged with 'sounding objects' from a range of museums."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Toop)
7/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Breath - Taking 37:32

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic
Electro-Acoustic Improv
lowercase, micro-improv, sound improv
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Free Improvisation
Duo Recordings
Instant Rewards

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Confront.


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