Someone Good – RMSG014 – 18th March 2016
Lawrence English, sound sculptor and the man behind the Room40 label and subdivision Someone Good, has a god ear and a keen sense of what makes for interesting and unusual listening. The liner notes to Mi Wo centre around English’s recollection of his discovery of Ytamo while touring Japan in the early to mid 00s. Specifically, he writes of how the first time he saw her perform, he was completely enthralled by the unusual and soothing music Ytamo conjured.
Listening to Mi Wo, it’s immediately apparent what he found to captivating. There’s an otherworldly quality to the music, and the sounds emerge and fade into one another as if created by some invisible force.
Ytamo’s style is built on diversity and eclecticism, while simultaneously, it’s about understatement and subtlety. The methods by which she draws together seemingly disparate elements transcends not only the boundaries of genre, but also culture and time. Despite its overt modernity, there are motifs and atmospheres which hint at traditionally-rooted music with ancient origins.
Laid back jazz vibes filter through and gradually evaporate in the sparse digital washes of ‘Autopoiesis’, and jaunty bleeps and whistles flicker lightly through trilling easy listening tones and mellow, bumping beats. The familiar blurs into the unfamiliar, with unexpected resonances. Subtly powerful, Mi Wo is a work of musical alchemy.