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A_A - Diskordant

Review

Diskordant by A_A

Music for the mind

A_A is a duo comprising Japanese-born, New York-residents Satoshi Tomiie and Naotake Gunji. Tomiie's international reputation may proceed him (breakthrough track Tears in 1989, co-produced with Frankie Knuckles, followed by a steady catalogue of 12"s and remixes until his envelope pushing Progressive House debut album Full Lick dropped in 1999. A switch to using modular synths around 2016 signalled his intention to play and produce music live) but Gunji's perhaps less so. While not as extensive or illustrious as Tomiie's, over the last decade or so Gunji has honed a sophisticated form of Deep House working as UG/NG (with Yuji Kawasaki) and solo as Dopeus (check I Left My Soul On Planet Dopeus from 2011 or Warpin' from 2013). Significantly though, more than House music, it was their shared love of Jazz and the avant-garde that sparked off their working relationship.

Abbreviating their artist name from ABSTRACT_ARCHITECTURE (the label Tomiie set up in 2018 to release his live / hardware-based music *) initial releases understandably channelled their House roots but exhibited a worn Techno edge. Gradually subtle elements, foreign to the dancefloor, began emerging on their tracks, like obscure noises on Hypnagogia and incoherent a capella on Vert, but importantly, the music remained floor-friendly. By the time Radiant-Dissonant came out in 2022/3, they'd fully descended the Dub Techno void with only one way forward: Ambient.

New album Diskordant is a live recording, as are all their releases, but this was in front of an audience, rather than jamming in the studio. Opening with clinking keys and the sounds of a craftsperson at work, it's their most experimental statement yet. Bearing in mind this is a single live recording, the set builds with detached dub vocals, spare bass notes and a sense of open space. Ten minutes in and, with the first elements of melody, that space is rapidly reduced. Skeletal rhythms soon follow and we're back to the Dub Techno of Radiant-Dissonant, albeit a version drained of tempo and colour. Strictly music for the mind.

* specifically using drum machines and Eurorack modules referencing 20th century avant-garde composers like Pierre Schaeffer, Pauline Oliveros and John Cage

If you only listen to one track

Radiant I

Label

Artificial Owl Recordings

Artist website

A_A

Release date

30 Apr 2024

Tracklist

  1. Intro
  2. Diskordant
  3. Disonant III
  4. Radiant IV
  5. Radiant I
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