MYSTERY SEA 43 | Yui Onodera | [Substrate]


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-"I collect the small sounds that no one notices.
Those 'Microsoundscapes' are very interesting in themselves.
The evening sun quietly shines over the city.
I listen to a lot of sounds with the mike in one hand.
When those sceneries metamorphose into music,
they give us a rich emotion.
There's a depth to vibrating sound,
along its flow. "

- Yui Onodera , October 2007


Young japanese artist Yui Onodera officiates in the sphere of (ec)static ambient soundscapes where the ingredients mainly drift from environmental sound & field recordings, digitally treated & combined afterwards with the use of more traditional instruments which remain nevertheless largely unrecognizable, and melted with finesse in the final assemblage...
Like many artists with a vision, he launched his own label CRITICAL PATH in 2003 as a platform for releasing his initial works and asserting his own style, but also to sustain experimental music in his own country by organizing events...
Yui has also his hands into scores for experimental films, and contemporary dance & Butoh...
He has just released his first official extraordinary CD "Suisei" on the ever excellent and/OAR, and has another one out on the gripping GEARS OF SAND label...
On "Substrate", Yui Onodera is definitely on a quest to unlock the fundamental vibe underneath things, pushing further the limits of perception... and it's as if he succeeded in capturing the silent auras gliding through our bodies, the night hum, the flickering of low lights above the trembling river...
"Substrate" goes through the membrane, leaving inner organic structure open & bare to see...
From aural bruises & drowned resonances, ascend mental pools like slow breaths...
Clouds seem to pass in unison...
a pure flow made of multiple streams all running to the same destination,
a delicate place of ultimate awareness...







VITAL WEEKLY 608|Frans De Waard
Yui Onodera is a bit better known for he has releases on his own Critical Path label, but also on Drone Records and And/OAR. Here he appears on Mystery Sea, but his telescope is not pointed towards the sea but to the sky, to the various stratospheres above us. In eight pieces Onodera takes us sky high where oxygen doesn't exist, everything is pitch black and weightless. His compositions are highly ambient in approach too and represent the 'one stroke of paint' approach: one sound, set forward with not much change or movement. It lasts a few minutes and then the next track appears. Quite a minimal approach, but seeing all tracks are called 'Substrate', its perhaps better to think of this one track in eight parts then eight separate tracks. It's a work that has no water references, which is kinda odd for this label, but musicwise it fits well among his fellow sailors. .
vital weekly

TOKAFI |Tobias Fischer  
"...And indeed, methods and outcome are vastly divergent on “Suisei” (and/OAR) and “Substrate” (Mystery Sea). While the latter, a work of interrelated short-form pieces, was built from a plentiful array of instruments and tools, the former, a single track of just over forty minutes, uses nothing but a pump organ and collected environmental sounds. The final result, however, is impressive in both cases. While “Suisei” is a unified work of puzzle-pieced entities, the eight separated parts of “Substrate” form a coherent sphere. This is the purest form of drone music imaginable, painstakingly minimal and immaculately realized. Onodera does nothing to confound expectations – instead satisfying them in the nicest possible way. In the first pieces of the album, a continuous diffusion of back- and foreground and a highly effective contrast between deep maternal undulation and high flickering pulsation is at the heart of the music.
As “Substrate” progresses, however, it leaves all adornments aside, bathing in nothing but soft waves and dreamy harmony. It is never quite clear, how many layers he uses at a given time (especially in the massive cathedral corona of “Substrate part 7”), but Yui has developed a technical prowess which makes them melt into a sole texture anyway..." (excerpt of a larger article about Yui Onodera)

SIGNAL TO NOISE # 50|Darren Bergstein   
Is Yui Onodera’s Substrate every bit as galvanizing as his recent And/Oar issue? Bite your tongue. A master at extracting audio gold from lead, Onodera can make the thinnest octave resonate brighter than a thousand supernova. Operating at bracingly abstract levels, and using only bare essentials (piano, voice, and processed electronics) he constructs Ikeda-like oscillations that appear to leach out of the universe’s atomic structure. Perched up high in the spectrum, this is the polar opposite of Phill Niblock’s cacophonia, minimal but true, silvery threads of light irising off the hinges of pearly gates.
signal to noise

We recently reviewed Yui Onodera’s “Suisei” (on the And/OAR label), whose basic character derived from different treatments of recordings of water. One supposes that there’s water in “Substrate” too, given the by now famous aesthetic foundations of Mystery Sea. Yet that, and all the rest of the sources that Onodera decided to exploit, are here decidedly unrecognizable - probably for the better. What this writer didn’t know before is that the Japanese artist is also a composer of soundtracks for experimental films, contemporary dance and Butoh. It makes sense, as the succession of the eight parts of this CD lets us think about the gradual development of a choreography, one that starts with movement and nearly ends in total standstill. At first there is a degree of slight interference amidst the droning calmness: parallel nuances, rippled complications and deviations attempting to barely blemish an otherwise almost too perfect beatitude. But as the music keeps flowing, the intense beauty of these undistinguished radiations comes in rivulets, creeks and small rivers to finally be channelled in a static suspension of such grace that I had to associate it to Klaus Wiese (precisely, his singing bowl trilogy “Space”, “Neptune” and “Uranus”). Sounds that hold us to ransom until the piece - a masterful one, if you ask me - completes its cycle, a sentiment-less microcosm traveling towards the unknown with absolute tranquillity. Splendid release, among the Belgian enterprise’s very best.
touching extremes

This tendency to dote on the sea, would it be owing to metaphor or metamorphosis? The latter is infinitely compelling, but then there is that transfixing tale, recounted by Emil Cioran, of the sea as consisting of God's tears. Hence our desire to drown in it, as a short-cut to God through His tears. In any case, Mystery Sea, and its entire catalogue thus far, appears altogether devoted to its enigma.
Substrate, though spawned from a number of sound sources, is ultimately the sound of the movement of fluids, balanced yet brimming with tension and friction. Onodera continually camouflages the electricity within the flow of a swift pointillism and a Lucier-like harmonic drift, itself a sort of expulsion of breath, redolent of deep weariness and shedding of emotion. The work consists of eight pieces that, without ever quite touching or bumping into each other as though by accident, quite effortlessly roll and intertwine - in short, they link up without fusing or showing much concern for contact. The pieces charm for this birthright, this seemingly natural ability to maintain this magnetic distance and rapport of form. Everything is highly conventional and highly regulated. And while this means surprises may well be few and far between, the opportunity to observe and vanish into the proceedings is more than ample recompense. Asides from this, the basic force of these pieces stems not from their accumulation of elements, but from their subtraction. A sort of classicism may be seen here. There's nothing flabby about these pieces, nothing ungainly. They move away from their moorings, leaving fewer and fewer traces, ascending into higher, dreamier atmospheres, as though out of concupiscence for the sky. When a tinkling of water reappears at the end, it's as though one has come full circle, its second occurrence signaling the end of the first. Where Substrate travels among the stars themselves, l'Inondation simply charts its course by them. Mathias Delplanque's recording is steeped in darkness - that of the basement in his apartment building in Nantes, to be exact. In this place, pipe sounds, electrical buzzes, ventillation fans and the like follow a trajectory that recurs time and again, marking time and opening up a space out of which events swell and recede. Originally a sound installation for the VKS Gallery in Toulouse, the piece slumbered in that buildings basement, a dark cellar at the foot of a long, narrow staircase. Perhaps understandably it achieves its best effect when lodged in a close approximation to just such a setting. In this environment, everything bristles with age, deep lines, contours, colors - in brief, a rich decay that overflows at a constant yet slow, almost imperceptible manner. The rarefied minutiae of Delplanque's sounds exist in a state of structural tension against the relentless onwards motion of duration. This ferrets out a fizzing and crackling that is at first apparent despite itself, but that eventually seem to strategically seep more and more into the backdrop, imbuing the piece with a sense of the inevitability of collapse.

This is just wonderful. Japanese musician Yui Onodera operates in the realm of sumptuous drone populated by artists such as Mirror, Jonathan Coleclough and Colin Potter.  His drones are outwardly simple yet his compositions are immeasurably deep. They pour gently from the speakers flowing over every surface in the room.  Whilst sourced from environmental sources along with electronics, voice, guitar and piano there is often little clue as to the origin of the sounds you are listening to (track 8 being the notable exception) instead one finds oneself fully immersed in the flow of the music as it overwhelms all consciousness and transports one fully into Onodera's opulent and verdant soundworld.
wonderful wooden reasons

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