hamaYôko
SHASO –train window–
12" (E68)

 

Belgium £16.50 (including postage)

Europe £18.50 (including postage)

Rest of world £23 (including postage)

 

Edition of 250 copies

Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker

at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin


I recognise all countries, eyes closed, 

by their smell
And I recognise all trains by the noise they make
European trains keep 4/4 time while those of Asia go at 5/4 or 7/4…
— Blaise Cendrars, Prose du Transsibérien, 1913

 

This is Yôko Higashi’s fourth

hamaYôko release. 

 

See also
Marchetti/Higashi (E70)

hamaYôko (E99)

Out of print

Reviews

Lovely mysterious record by Yôko Higashi who has made quite a few CDs for this label, including the excellent Pétrole
with Lionel Marchetti. This vinyl release 

I regard as a set of electronic poems 

and aural versions of Utamaro prints, 

little miniatures studded with surrealist clues. It's a strong and puzzling mixture of tapes, electronics, voice samples,
varispeeding, and multiple exposures. Everything is carefully executed, with much precision and clarity
. Some railway
sounds on Kamakura Seven and Small Blue Hand almost suggest there’s a conceptual railway theme underpinning
the album, and though it’s a bit sketchy this is borne out by the title and a Blaise Cendrars quote on the insert. Higashi’s intention seems to be to make the whole world appear strange and alien, and many familiar vistas are given the 

Higashi treatment to renew and refresh our senses. Akai Pool is an especially evocative piece combining electronic bleeps with singing and water sounds. Yuki Ni Akago starts with sounds of 

a baby’s voices, adds treatments, and introduces some vaguely disquieting electronic music, loops and samples. Porta for Yokohama Citizen is most successful, an elaborate construct packed with crowds, talking, varispeeded voices, and is almost a mini-movie (like other works by this artiste). Documentary recordings from France, Corsica and Japan formed the basis of this release, but the active ingredient is her vivid imagination.

Ed Pinsent in The Sound Projector


Yôko Higashi’s hamaYôko project is calculated musique concrète and electroacoustic clutter that defies any easy categorisation. There’s a kitchen sink approach to sound sources and recording techniques, often juxtaposing very clear sounds of mangled voices 

or sharp, percussive tones against more distant background mystery. Higashi avoids easy imagery but occasionally 

at the expense of coherence. There are elegant surrealist gestures (as would be expected from a label called Entr’acte) but other moments that hang in a tension between exploratory sound construction and expressiveness. This perhaps achieves pure ‘electroacoustic’ status, feeling equal parts electronic and acoustic. There’s nothing earthy or organic about the sound sources but
SHASO –train window– is warm and inviting. It’s clear that her approach is very focused, as these pieces sound like the product of careful editing rather than accidents and luck — though I wonder 

if chance elements might provide a bit
of distinction.

Lynn Sauna at Still Single


Recorded in France (Lyon, Ternay), Corsica, and Japan, the seven tracks composing [this] 12-inch release are
a strange lot indeed. Anything but a minimalist, Higashi creates dense and oft-woozy collages from a pool of field
recordings and electronic elements. Kaleidoscopic in its shape-shifting form, the prototypical hamaYôko piece is 

a little bit like [The Beatles’] Revolution 9 

in its diverse sound content and un-predictable trajectory. Side one opens with a psychedelic mélange of electronic tones, grinding hydraulic noises, and 

train sounds (Kamakura Seven); follows 

it with crashing water sounds, a soft
murmuring voice, and swollen electronic tones (Akai Pool); radio background material, creaking noises, and convulsive shards (Small Blue Hand); and finally
guitar fuzz, male vocal meander, and electronic bleeps (Headeck). Side two’s Porta –for Yokohama citizen– at times approaches a noise piece when its

mix of male voices, crowd babble, and industrial grinding swells to its most dense level. The album’s most disturbing
piece is clearly Yuhi ni akago (Infant for Sunset): adding a baby’s babble to 

a portentous, even diseased instrumental arrangement only intensifies the setting’s
nightmarish effect.

Ron Schepper at Textura