Ryoji Ikeda | op.

Touch | CD

It will be no surprise to those familiar with Ikeda's sound work to hear that his new release begins on a long suspended high frequency note, but it will be immediately apparent that instead of this being another fine collection of (what I jokingly term) the 'spatia-minima hearing test-tronics' that he is well known for, this appears to be a very promising next stage of works involving acoustic instruments exploring similar territory.

Most who are familiar with Ikeda's previous work will find this new release of compositions for string trio and quartet to be a seemingly logical continuation of the sonic territory he has acutely explored before with electronics. One difference some may find between the electronic works and the string pieces is that they might evoke more emotion in some listeners, whereas the electronic works stimulated only the intellect. Nevertheless, some will still find 'op.' to be austere, cold, and only slightly warmer than the electronic works, due in part by the string instrumentation.

This release presents 3 opuses - hence the title - and one 'prototype' version of the first work entitled 'op. 1 for Strings'. All in all, I personally find that these lovely, elegiac and thought-provoking works accomplish what many a classically trained modern composer has not been able or inclined to do: sustain and shift long meditative/contemplative passages throughout the entire duration of their compositions without feeling the common and somewhat academic need to display disruptive outbursts of atonal tempi spasms.

Perhaps this is due, in part, to Ikeda not being a classically trained virtuoso musician or composer? Perhaps classical music, as a genre, will experience regeneration in a new generation of untrained composers who aren't so steeped and entrenched in academic tradition? Ikeda's works give me some hope, at least.


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