• Joseph Nothing - Dummy Variations

    Reviewed by [R.E.] (Other Music)

    Joseph Nothing - Dummy Variations

    Nothing, aka Tatsuya Joseph Yoshida, makes an album with a strange conflict. While it's a nice trip through, it has no center to speak of. This is Yoshida's first album solo, but he's worked in Japanese studios for a long time. His work is all texture and no form. He arranges textures (and hundreds of them, not just twenty or thirty) into complex arrangements that build into rhythms, but not simple ones. He'll make a formula for a five-second interval, then start mutating it, compounding mutation on mutation. Which sounds, by description, very alien, but it actually has a jauntiness to it that reminds me (of all things!) like Brahms in structure (only Brahms rearranged pitch whereas Yoshida is solely timbre). When there is melody, it's on a 1-2 or 1-2-3 level, waddlingly simple and, sadly, too fragmented to stick to the walls of one's mind. His patterns breed, die, or circle each other menacingly. From a mid-'90s Aphex Twin sound, to Art of Noise in an intensely hyper mood, to a vocoder amok in a pachinko parlor, to a field recording of toyland dubbed to an off-center piece of vinyl, you might also say this is like hearing either Aaron Copeland, your own national anthem or "Oklahoma!" fed through something that converts melodies to beats and samples and then makes it go drum'n'bass. There's often so much going on that it's not noise, but still would be impossible to separate into single lines. Instead the sounds replicate at an increasing rate -- he leaves no breathing space -- Dummy Variations is very rug-like, inventive and thick.

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