Toshimaru Nakamura/Mark Trayle

Stationary
Creative Sources CS 141 CD

Bringing to mind the old saw about the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, Japanese no-input mixing board manipulator Toshimaru Nakamura and Californian laptoppist Mark Trayle create two medium-length and one extended in-the-moment improvisations here that are as discordantly abrasive as they are sequenced and spacious. A former guitarist (Nakamura) and an electronic composer of chamber and dance pieces (Trayle) they create something unique when the patches, routines and protocols extracted from Tayle’s computer are enhanced with the sonic signals produced by Nakamura’s mixing board which emits sounds despite its inputs being un- connected to any external sound source.

No respite is offered to the queasy ear from sonic pulsations that encompass split-second glitches, ramping pulses, undifferentiated opaque drones, fortissimo grinding, buzzing static and disassociated clicks and squeaks. Either the listener remains stationary and accepts the results or rejects them absolutely. Those that follow the later path however, will miss the spectral logic that actually informs the CD’s brutalized discordance.

Contrapuntal and reductionist, the patterned drones, piercing shrills and echoing flanged textures serve a dual purpose. As they delineate individual sound strategies and preferences, they also demonstrate how a cumulative tonal blend can be achieved by intermingling jackhammer-tough rhythms and processed pitches that ordinarily wouldn’t meld.

While anything but lyrical, the unpremeditated polyphony crated confirms that together Nakamura and Trayle have created definitive metal machine music.

— Ken Waxman