Akio Suzuki: Analapos, De Koolmees, stones, wood pieces, nails, hammer, room echo, bottles etc… and drawing; Aki Onda: radios, walkmans, amps, tape echo, cymbals, bottles etc.
“The resonances and atmospheres that either catch our attention or pass unnoticed are an interesting aspect of city sonority. Determining the precise nature of such characteristic instances has become a central tenet in recent sonic theories.” (from the program of the 2013 edition of Brussels’ Tuned City festival, where this performance took place)
Ma Ta Ta Bi is the functional indication of how Suzuki and Onda materialized the above conception. A chronological succession of sonorities of mostly urban/human extraction constitutes the core of what we hear, without unreasonable additions of bells and whistles. Working sounds – including insistent hammering in the initial track “Ta Bi No Ha Zi Ma Ri” – are mixed with echoes of uninviting quarters, various types of alarms, a general sense of untidy metropolitan clangor. The essential substance gets remodeled via raw processing into massive reverberations, indeed giving the idea of an immense tempered ecosystem. When Suzuki adds his own instruments and voice to the recipe the environment opens up, letting the emotions come in: at different junctures we can relish the tuned jangle of (plausibly) wind chimes, the whisper of peculiar flutes, the (inevitable, one would say) water and the (ever-welcome) birds, plus a number of exceptional emergences whose singular acoustic attributes repeatedly stopped us in our tracks.
What’s crucial, these instants of relatively clamorous awareness do not occur after an “investigation” in the strictest acceptation of the term: on the contrary, they are the consequence of overlying currents of ordinary appearances and unplanned gestures. As if the performers wished to teach us the ability of feeling one and the same even with oppressive settings, in all probability the fundament of our endurance. The mental image of a solitary seagull in the blue sky, hovering on a depressing suburban area – experienced this very morning from a bus, on the way to my workaday activities – might perhaps synthesize what this album is all about. We can discover assonance in apparent confusion, if the right channels are wide open. Then there are those who are frightened by silence; but that’s another story.