RYOJI IKEDA – 1000 Fragments (reissue) + Test Pattern

Formerly released in 1995 on Ikeda’s own label CCI, 1000 Fragments is by all means an influential album and, to this day, an attractive one independently from personal inclinations and evolving taste. Divided into three core compositions, this document encompasses something for just anybody concerned with the overlapping territories of computer music, ambient and plunderphonics, the Japanese researcher maintaining the dissertation’s level in the “interesting-to-brilliant” range. My preferred slice is the final one “Luxus”, built upon an awe-inspiring alternance of vaguely choir-ish chords from outer space, underscored by a pulsating drone that lingers on for minutes, new elements gradually introduced as the music flows in a masterful “neoclassic minimalist” structural design ending with purring low frequencies. Gorgeous stuff without a doubt. “Channel X” is a baffling initiation to the mental dislodgment generated by a swift string of different sonic events, which include test tones, communications between astronauts and ground control, media snippets, electronic sounds and much more. A very well conceived track that, despite its fragmentary character, leaves a bit of room for our reflexes to individuate the sources and situate them in the zone of immediate recollection that, as a whole, is the engine alimenting the positive reception of such an endeavour. “Zones” is a sophisticated illustration of pulse-based ambient, a stylish assertion overcoming the “by now acknowledged” status through impeccable timing and logic of sound assignment. One of those releases that win the fight against the passage of time, containing at least a potently riveting segment.

Interested in the “invisible multi-substance of data that permeates our world” and the “relationship between critical points of device performance and the threshold of human perception”, Ryoji Ikeda has been working on a multimedia venture called “Datamatics”, of which this is the second chapter after Dataplex, on this very label. By digitally converting all kinds of information (text, sounds, photos and movies) into barcode patterns and binary 0 & 1 sequences, the composer gives life to a whole host of micro-sonic streams whose fundamental temperament is based on a prominent rhythmic component, noticeably perceivable even in the apparently more restrained sections. We’re warned not to overextend the volume boundaries, as the alternatively stinging and rumbling discharges of these vibrational configurations might hurt both the speakers and the eardrums. 67 minutes of this concentrate can be a veritable test for your broad-mindedness, as there’s actually no real variant in the overall scheme of things; this CD works efficiently as a brain stimulator though, its impulses having a definite say amidst a state of alertness and unquiet responsiveness that are missed when the program is over, proof of a subliminal functionality in regard to the corporeal systems. A stimulating experiment for which the word “music” appears quite limited, either destined to the well versed in this sonic quarter or the ones allowing themselves a modicum of frostiness and impassiveness every once in a while. Unquestionably not appropriate for those inclined to idealism at all costs.


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