Everywhere you walk in Jamaica you hear Bob Marley. Blasting out of big speakers at bars, chicken stands, or just in the air from somewhere out of sight. The only time I didn’t hear Bob Marley was on a glass bottomed boat. The guy was at least 6 foot and he carried a trail of weed smoke as he took us toward his boat. It was cheap, the boat was old, we got on, we sailed out into the ocean. It sparkled and turtles swam beneath us. I jumped into the water and stroked its silvery surface with my hand, my hair floating just beneath the surface, life all around us. Back on the boat our guy exchanged money for packages with another boat that pulled up. That day we were, all of us, fishing.
The no-input mixing board may be the most alien thing I’ve heard yet. That sound, that screeching feedback, from a just noticeable hiss to an intrusive squaller, it’s beyond me. And its mechanics are almost intentionally foreign — as though it neither wants to be a conventional instrument nor associate with such earthly objects. So it should come as no surprise that so much of its history is dominated by a synthetic narrative. Frequently accompanied by the otherworldly — vinyl without “music,” a six stringed instrument that won’t be forthcoming on Guitar Hero 12 —, the no-input mixer’s recorded interactions have, to put it kindly, been off-putting to many.
But something has changed. The no-input’s foremost interpreter, Toshimaru Nakamura, has injected some humanity into this being; he’s even managed to convince it to play nice with normal instruments. Maybe Toshi was fed up with his pal getting a bad rap; or maybe Mr. Nakamura’s stylistic approach has softened; or maybe the no-input has achieved a greater degree of sentience. Nonetheless, with this new quintet, Koboku Senjû, Selektiv hogst demonstrates these newfound good vibes. Along with last year’s In Search of Wild Tulips, Selektiv hogst is a collaboration with Tetuzi Akiyama (guitar), but this time Toshi is also joined by Martin Taxt (tuba), Eivind Lønning (trumpet), and Espen Reinertsen (tenor sax and flute).
The sound herein is warm and inviting — friendly almost. Selektiv hogst may be the closest an EAI album has come to being a summertime jam for me, with the no-input mixer re-invoking the cicada imagery of Semi-Impressionism. Though their solo contributions deserve merit, Taxt and Reinertsen frequently provide the harmonic backdrop for the remaining three’s meandering — Tetuzi’s scratching, Lønning’s muted squeaks, and of course Toshi’s outbursts. However this affair isn’t just a lazy July evening down at the lake; like a heat induced thunderstorm, this collective manages to frequently reassert their obtuse tendencies, spoiling and dispelling the summer daze.
I’ve had this album now for a month and without a doubt it is my favorite of the year to date. Moreover, it’d take a jaw-dropping second half release to knock Selektiv hogst out of my number one position.
24.06. Stanica ° Žilina-Záriečie
25.06. Tabačka Kulturfabrik ° Košice
26.06. Klopačka ° Banská Štiavnica
28.06. Artkino Metro ° Trenčín