Ryoji Ikeda | Matrix
Touch | 2CD
Ryoji Ikeda has this year exhibited 'Matrix (for an Anechoic Room)' at the ICC, Tokyo and 'Matrix' at the Millennium Dome, London. This double CD release is presumably some kind of translation of those works from public arena into private living space, perhaps to further facilitate Ikeda's stated desire that the individual listener experience their own "intrapersonal music".
'Matrix (for Rooms)', comprising ten tracks on CD1, is composed from various layered and sustained sine tones and overtones which vary gradually (usually on or near track boundaries) over the 60 minute duration. To dispel any initial doubts there may be regarding its nature let it be said that this is no clinical or scientific exercise. The tones are sensuous and invite interaction. They bathe the room (if played at sufficient volume) and create moiré patterns which dance (albeit in slo-mo) but which are sometimes so pronounced that a head movement is enough to elicit a shift in rhythm and effect. The tones also pulsate, alternately reinforcing and cancelling, and set up arhythmic parabolic movements like those of a faltering gyroscope whose spin has spun out.
The work is insistent: it demands attention and a willingness to vary the listening position. (Not surprisingly the effect is lost and is altogether less engaging (read: flattened) on headphones.) However, small effort and some tenacity is amply rewarded. An uplifting experience from start to finish, albeit one which which is unlikely to have you hitting 'play' again straight away.
The ten tracks on CD 2 which make up '.matrix' can perhaps be seen as a continuation along the line of Ikeda's stunning 'Headphonics' and although made from the same sine-tone-stuff as its counterpart on CD 1 it is a more rhythmically-orientated set. Ikeda deploys thudding heartbeats and microscopic pinprick clicks to equal effect; bleeding together pulsating tones, hisses and blinking LEDs he makes full use of the stereo plane. The ten parts can be taken in in one perfectly measured sweep. Easy listening.