Review: Miguel A. García + Seijiro Murayama – Zashomon

miguel_a_garcia__seijiro_murayama-zashomon-coverStop. Sound. Stop. There are no continuous sounds on Zashomon. Instead, sounds appear, perpetuate themselves for a brief length of time and then drop out or transform. Their presence within the soundscape – at that particular moment, at that particular position ­– is always meaningful. Nothing is sustained for the sake of habit or in apprehension over change. García and Murayama revere silence to the extent that they grace it with only the most deliberate and elegant activity, forming intermittent collages of stops and starts and overlaps, treating each moment like a room entered for the very first time. None of these pieces rely on any permanent anchorage. Field recordings appear, synthesisers leave, drums intermittently punctuate, drones mutate irreversibly, vocal cracks exist for as long as the breath will permit. The duo are eternally redressing newfound tilts in stereo space.

Some moments feel like the product of epiphany. “Monsho” occasionally erupts in bursts of fragmented bebop beat, with ride cymbals falling over snares and vice versa, as though smacked by a sudden wave of claustrophobic panic (as instigated, perhaps, by García’s enclosing walls of concrete drones). On “Contusion”, a guitar drops single notes one at a time like water via pipette, resounding in gentle confidence that the timing of each plectrum pluck is absolutely right. On “One Perjury”, white noise flickers between different textures and densities without warning, shifting from the soft gush of a detuned radio to the idle interference of an empty room. Meanwhile, García applies and extracts low frequencies in abrupt changes of heart, causing sudden fluctuations in gravity pressure and atmospheric hue and lighting. The closer I listen, the greater my understanding of what triggers these players to transit from inactivity to bold, vivid emissions of sound. Each decision on Zashomon is the product of a deep internal and external listening; an unquestioning faith in the urges that manifest when one is utterly attuned to their space and their collaborative company, stripped of the safety blanket of habit.