"Searching For My Recording Engineer" CD
Genres: experimental guitar improvisations, noise
Bryan Day / PE
3803 S 25th St.
Omaha, NE 68107
Oct 21 - 27 2002
guitar improvisations tend to appeal only to a select few, an elite
group that I am thankfully a part of. Having avidly listened to
everything from Thurston Moore's grating solo work to Noumena's
underground axe rumblings, I feel that vicious, sometimes strident
guitar-abusing is one of the most emotional forms of music around. And
Yoko Sato, thankfully, has gotten it down to a science.
Searching For My Recording Engineer consists of four tracks -
"Guitar Improvisation One," "Guitar Improvisation
Two," "Guitar and Voice Improvisation," and
"Guitar Improvisation Three." You know exactly what you're
First on the block is the nine-minute first track. Starting off
with ringing feedback, the track breaks into metallic noise and begins
to swirl through layers upon layers of effect-laden mindfuck until
your brain can no longer take it. The true beauty of the piece,
though, lies in how well Yoko Sato keeps everything together.
While the untrained ear may only hear cacophony, a properly-tuned
listener will feel the bounds of Yoko's framework, and will
notice a deeply buried melody amidst all the feedback. Near the end of
the track, Yoko ups the tension by jumping up a few octaves. The
effect is mesmerizing.
The second track is completely different. While the first piece was
relatively restrained and gradual, number two just pulls out all the
stops. Yoko's guitar is just completely ripped to shreds. The
guitar strings are completely tortured, being dashed to pieces in a
frenetic flurry of destructive ire. Listening to it is like getting
stuck in an electric hailstorm. While one may feel as though this
suffers from a lack of structure, Yoko is obviously trying to
destroy boundaries with this piece.
The third track adds voice to the mix, and in turn becomes the
album's most potent moment. While the guitars are toned down here, so
as to make way for the vocals, this does not detract from their power.
The instrumentation is still disturbingly dark and cacophonous. But
the piece's true power lies in the haunting yells and screams bellowed
by Yoko. Mysterious and dark, she sings as if it's the
apocalypse. And despite the improvised nature of this, there is a
definite melodic correlation between the guitars and the vocals -
something that sounds both incidental and intentional at once. This is
what you would play in those carnival haunted houses if you wanted to
give all the thrill-seeking children nightmares for the rest of their
The last track is similar to the second, except with a heavier use
of pedal effects. It hits you like a barrage of bullets and finishes
the album off appropriately.
Altogether, Yoko Sato's Searching For My Recording
Engineer is an essential electric guitar improvisation album. If
you ever feel as if you'd like to be shot into an inferno of grinding
guitar chaos, look no further.
35 min 26 sec, 4 tracks, distributed by the
label, released 2002]