Mind Music #2 : hatis noit - Illogical Dance

The human voice is something we often take for granted. It is something so simple yet incredibly complex simultaneously. One tone can evoke so many different meanings for so many people and it’s certainly an underlying reason why Illogical Dance is so effective as a recording. 

The Japanese experimental music scene is deservedly well regarded and Illogical Dance is an especially multi-influenced and multi-faceted product of said cauldron of sound. Released first as a domestic limited issue, it’s global exposure came in the form of an Erased Tapes release. If any label could match this artist’s music it is certainly this one and although it’s not an easy listen by any means (in the most positive  of connotations) there is a real sense of raw beauty to be found in the uncompromising soundscape.

Perhaps like their inspirational roots, these recordings have a spine chilling edge in many ways but this discomfort is almost comforting, evoking the kind of images in the mind's eye that fill those proverbial dark moments of the soul. It's probably important to note that these aren't really songs in any commonly understood way. In their structure, they are primal expression at its most captivating and when we consider the voice to be an instrument, perhaps the original instrument,then this is a powerful record indeed.

Fans of the more remote corners of experimental music will have experienced many albums of pure human voice but Illogical Dance is another experience altogether almost right from the start. Angelus Novus is operatic without the overbearing pomp of opera and it's multilayered voices and noise are as powerful as the early work of Yoko Ono, often unfairly criticised for her traditional Japanese sound theatre inspirations in the Western media. You can't do anything but take in the tableau of vocals and that is surely how music is meant to be. The piece could almost be described an abstract, wordless lullaby.

The electronic elements come to the fore on the bigger sonic palette of Anagram C.I.Y and someone, somewhere will surely make a reference to Medulla, the voice-based album from Bjork and they'd be half right except that this piece takes the experimentation of said album to greater heights, dispensing with words entirely and making a discordant yet appealing mix of chopped up vocal samples. The title track Illogical Dance takes a more melodic approach with something close to audible words and it's even more soothing and frankly beautiful. 

This is truly music for a dark evening of the soul when the raw beauty of nature is infinitely more comforting than anything else. Make sure you experience it as such.

(Sebastian Gahan)

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