Tasogare: Live in Tokyo
Tasogare: Live in Tokyo serves multiple purposes but two in particular stand out. The recording obviously acts as a strong promotional vehicle and argument for 12k's roster, of which the five acts included—Minamo, Sawako + Hofli, Moskitoo, Solo Andata, and Taylor Deupree—are representative. But it also offers a rare chance to hear said acts outside the safe confines of their personalized recording set-ups and presenting their works onstage, in this case at two temples in Tokyo, Japan. Recorded over two nights in April, 2010, the release captures Sawako + Hofli, Moskitoo, and Solo Andata performing at the Komyoji Temple on the first night and Minamo and Taylor Deupree at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Jiyu Gakuen Myonichi-kan on the second. A few other details worth noting: all tracks are untitled, and though Tasogare is a live recording, crowd noise is conspicuously absent; whether that's attributable to the recording set-up, venue—they are Japanese temples, after all—, or audience comportment isn't clear. Despite the artistic differences that invariably declare themselves over the course of the seventy-minute release, a general uniformity of sensibility comes into focus that speaks to the collective spirit promulgated by 12k and its releases.
The four-piece Minamo inaugurates the recording with ten minutes of improvised sparkle, jangle, sputter, and fuzz, and as the piece unfolds it moves beyond its ambient-drone beginnings into an aggressive roundelay of battered percussion and synthetic noise. The Sawako-Hofli piece immediately distinguishes itself from the others on account of Sawako's soft vocal musing but it's merely one element of many that emerges during the thirteen-minute piece. There's a lovely middle section where her hushed voice is backed by little else than Hofli's guitar shadings, plus equally peaceful episodes where bird chirps and ambient atmospherics flesh out the collective sound. Coming as it does after the inviting warmth of the Sawako-Hofli setting, Moskitoo's skittering abstractions and experimental playmaking initially prove to be less engaging, but all that changes when a chiming bells-and-voice episode shifts the material into a more appealing (if still overly busy) pop-inflected zone. Solo Andata, the Australia-based act known for creating textural pieces using found objects, homemade instruments, and a minimum of electronics or software, perpetuates a mysterioso mood with a steadily evolving soundscape that embellishes ominous gloom with high-pitched accents and wave-crashing rumble and crackle. 12k head Taylor Deupree then caps the release with a piece reflective of his current style, in this case one whose lulling ebb-and-flow of crackling electro-acoustic materials exudes a peaceful calm that would appear perfectly in keeping with the setting in which it's being created.