Review: Masayuki Imanishi – Worn Tape

When the terrain of possibility stretches outward in all directions, sometimes the most profound action can be to stay completely still. Worn Tape is a record built from the sounds that decorate the daily life of its composer, Masayuki Imanishi: a mixture of radio emissions, field recordings and carefully captured actions involving objects and paper. The sounds that reside within our daily routine are the sounds that we hear the most, yet they’re often the sounds that we cherish the least; we tune them out and scan the horizon for unusual stimulus instead, ignoring (consciously, at least) the sensory events that indicate our inhabitation of comfortable territory. Of course, we would hear the sudden absence of these sounds. Thus their presence solidifies itself as the pillars and beams that support our day-to-day reality. Through this collection of subtle, intimate reconfigurations of the material that papers the periphery of his existence, Masayuki Imanishi pays tribute to those crinkles, gurgles and trickles that keep life in equilibrium, recasting incidental sounds as agents of meticulous counterbalance and incessantly orchestrated stillness.

As such, there isn’t a single sound enacted with a bang or a smack. These pieces are built on the slightest of frictions and movements: a single fingernail scraped against a sheet of paper, the dehydrated click of shuffling insect parts, the muffled wisp of a nasal sniff, the clatter of pieces of plastic. There are no acts of disruption or fractured continuity. No materials are ripped or chipped. Objects knock together, or obey the gentle nudges of human touch, or adhere to the sway of the weather. The fifth piece shows the record at its most climactic, and that’s saying something: a motor fizzes amidst a scree of electricity and the cold hiss of a winter draught, pressing into the sibilant frequencies that the album otherwise leaves alone. But ultimately, these are the sounds of a life unfolding as planned; compositions bristling as a human agent passes through them. I contemplate the title of Worn Tape, which perhaps acts as an allusion to the way in which change occurs in an environment that plays host to the same events each day: through gradual, time-aided erosion, wearing down the path through treading and re-treading, edging toward silence one frictional brush at a time.