Sachiko M, Toshimaru Nakamura & Otomo Yoshihide - Good Morning Good Night
Jul 5, 2020 (updated Jul 7, 2020)
CFCE 87.8 FM Weekly Genre: EAI

Severe Ingenuity

EAI, simply put, is the genre of no limitations; no preconceptions or assumptions, only improvisation conjured up on a moment's notice. What is allowed is what's not allowed. This unique genre intentionally explores sound before it is disputed and ordered, exploring these raw unfamiliar territories in search of a greater understanding of music. While EAI is similar in concept to extreme genres, such as Free Jazz and the exploration of chaos and turbulence, Electro-Acoustic Improvisation explores sound textures and its next-door neighbor, silence. Think of this general concept, as something similar to that of an engine inside of an automobile. A curious mind will wonder how the car works and operates; this is achieved by stripping back everything to a base level of understanding. In EAI, "base-level" concepts range from the textures generated from objects reacting with one another, to how sharp tones and blunt tones collide, and how instruments respond under different circumstances. This is the genre of endless curiosity and limitless fascination.

It is important to note that EAI originally was birthed out of the free jazz and improvisation movement of the late sixties, specifically with the band AMM. AMM was formed with several members who, on the first appearance, might seem like your average jazz trio. Eddie Prevost on percussion, Lou Gare on Sax, and finally Keith Rowe on guitar. Taking a closer look will reveal anything but orthodoxy. All thinking entirely outside the box of the standard of music presentation. Keith Rowe developed what is now known as "Prepared-Guitar," which is a guitar modified to elicit specific textures and timbres, Lou Gare pioneered incredible breathing techniques and Eddie Prevost drew completely foreign rhythms out of his kit. The result is something wholly inventive and alluring. On their first recording AMMmusic, the sounds featured are harsh, jagged, and confrontational, not necessarily enjoyable but intriguing. What came next after numerous live shows, AMM began to become slightly more organized and sanctioned. This progression started an upward trend of restrained improvisation until the 1990s when they released their best material. Such enormous classics such as "Newfoundland," "The Inexhaustible Document," and my personal favorite "Before Driving to the Chapel, We Took Tea with Rick and Jennifer Lee." These recordings feature such a drastically different change of direction from their early work. Everything became quieter and utilized electronics. Instead of the cacophony of Prevost and Gare at the forefront, Keith Rowe was now at the forefront with his prepared guitar and Radio signals. This ingenuity was the beginning of EAI.

Around this same time, another crucial improvisation scene emerged this time from Japan and became known as "Onkyo." In comparison to Keith Rowe's iteration of the genre, Onkyo is significantly colder and confrontational. Artists began harnessing sine waves such as Sachiko M, while others were more interesting in radio signals and other technologies. Perhaps the most inventive and creative artist to emerge out of this critical scene was Toshimaru Nakamura, who has since released dozens of projects almost always featuring new concepts. Consequently, the artists mentioned above-collaborated on a project that would come to define a vast majority of EAI, for better or for worse, depending on who you ask.

To say that Good Morning, Good Night is minimalist would be an understatement; only particular sounds feature on the menu. Sachiko M provides her signature subtlety rough sine waves and select samples. Toshimaru Nakamura incorporates minute sounds from his no-input mixing boards, and Otome Yoshihide operates the turntables. Separated into four sections beginning in the morning and ending at night the sound differences presented are like night and day. Directly from the jump, we are greeted by Sachiko M's sine waves, which are incredibly small but dangerously sharp. Some are larger in width while others are so small it feels like they are piercing right through your skull. These waves for the majority of the record appear in and out as they complement minute and crisp sounds of turntables and samples.

More often than not, noise music is considered the most extreme "music" that exists, in my opinion, the sounds featured here are the most extreme. Noise multiplication, in my opinion, veers in the opposite direction when discussing the most extreme music. What defines EAI and Onkyo as desperately extreme to me, is how close it successfully rubs its shoulders with silence, in the most dazzling and altogether harsh way possible.

Find other CFCE reviews from this week:

By DoubleZ:

By WhatTheFunk:
Jul 5, 2020
What a pleasure to see you talk about this controversial classic! Your analysis of the Onkyo scene and the use of silence in this unorthodox music really interested me... An open-minded review, as always! EAI was probably the most exciting genre of the week so far :)
Jul 5, 2020
Definitely not the kind of record I'd expect anyone to analyze for all its musical elements, so I appreciate your inquiry of EAI and Onkyo as a whole, incredibly interesting read! It also leaves me thinking, despite its similarities, Onkyo would be a nice genre to feature in the future. Perhaps I'll look into that, great review as always.
Jul 6, 2020
@WhatTheFunk @Inglume I appreciate the compliments! It was definitely an interesting and thought provoking genre for sure. Silence in relation to music has always greatly interested me so it was a treat to discuss that here! I agree, onkyo would be an excellent genre to feature sometime in the near future!

Aug 3, 2020
Incredibly good review... Still don't like the record tho
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