February 28, 2007

Otomo Yoshihide – The Prisoner (Soundtrack)

Filed under: Hype,Music — RadioFly @ 1:02 pm

[Headz; 2007]

Otomo Yoshihide is one of the few modern musicians that can accurately be labeled a jack of all trades. The Japanese turntablist/guitarist/composer has spent the last decade at the forefront of avant-garde music. Though this most recent outing, the soundtrack to Adachi Masao’s film The Prisoner, is most certainly a noise release, Yoshihide’s myriad backgrounds (particularly his work with rock and free jazz) have a tangible effect on the music. Here filling the role of both composer and player, Yoshihide has enlisted a star-studded roster of noise artists, including his American counterpart, Jim O’Rourke, and the sine-wave diva Sachiko M.

The soundtrack opens with O’Rourke’s gentle, lonely acoustic guitar, seemingly the center of a huge empty space. From there, sounds slowly build to fill that space until the acoustic guitar is all but lost in the brilliant cacophony. Immediately it becomes clear that, though this soundtrack is certainly Yoshihide’s piece, he allowed the players significant room for improvisation—a skill at which they all excel. That improvisation, in addition to the use of some relatively conventional guitarwork, gives The Prisoner a pleasant sense of vitality many similarly structured noise records all-too-often openly strive against.

Just as the record appears to be heading towards “background music” status with some more solo acoustic from O’Rourke, a noisy trio of electric guitars from O’Rourke, Yoshihide, and the Japanese Avant-Garde scene’s resident cowboy, Akiyama Tetuzi crashes in with the power of Japan’s famed bullet train on “International.” “Escape,” meanwhile, echoes Fushitsusha and sees some veritable riffage from Tetuzi that forms an unholy but completely effective alliance with Sachiko M’s eerie sinewaves. The next track, an epic twelve minute affair that features 11 musicians, forms a solid backbone for the soundtrack.

This soundtrack not only injects some much-needed life into the oft-mechanical realm of noise, but it is a worthy edition to Yoshihide’s impressive discography. I haven’t the faintest idea who Adachi Masao is, but if he enlists music this good and interesting for his movies, I’d wager they are worth seeing. This soundtrack, meanwhile, is a must-listen for anyone interested in modern noise music.

For more information on the Prisoner movie and soundtrack, visit: www.prisoner-m.com

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