Kioto Aoki Paper, Not Plastic Dubs
Kioto Aoki is a taiko artist whose familial roots in taiko practice extend back to Japan's Edo period. Her musical expression through taiko drum, while fully informed by tradition, and honed since childhood, exists firmly in the present. Her style is characterized by both her own steady presence as a performer and shaper of sound, and her singular ability to bring her own tradition into collaborations with musicians steeped in totally different environments. Aoki has now teamed with Chicago techno producer and Gesamt Records label head Takashi Shallow for the towering release Paper, not plastic Dubs. Using three tracks from Aoki's 2023 FPE Records release, Paper, not plastic, Shallow explores process and medium, treating the sounds to a variety of analog production techniques. Three tracks emerge, retaining the pulse and spirit of the taiko's reverberations, but transfigured in affect. It's a sonic operation analogous to Aoki's process-based work in photography and film, as well as Alvin Lucier's early flirtations with musique concrète. Imagine: you're in a room with a drummer. Is the room big and echoey? That's fun. Walk around the room. Or, approach it from a distance. Put in some earplugs. Go outside for some air, hang out by the window. Record it! Hold your phone up in the air, or stick it in your back pocket and have a seat. Booms morph into pillow poofs, attack and decay interfere with each other, loud and bold becomes little and shrill. No sound is absolute; immediacy and fidelity are subject to uncountable permutations. We present here a quantum of possibility, pulses produced by stick contact with drum head, layers of membranes and electronic impulses manipulated into a concrete trip through the grooves.