Whether by design or not, Japan’s Masaya Kato has found a way to combine a core feature of house music with ambient noise. His frequent use of Fender Rhodes and piano vignettes is immediately recognizable to club kids young and old. But what he does with those sounds is entirely new.
Kato’s latest, contact, goes deep on the contrast between music designed to make you move and music designed to help you not move for extended periods of time.
These eight new works combine elegant sustained keyboard notes with noise pulled from tape reels, vinyl, eight-millimetre film and VHS cassettes.
The combination draws two contrasts: the aforementioned house vs. ambient noise and the minimalist keyboard parts vs. Kato’s ability to take maximum advantage of his noise recordings. Both apparent disconnects contribute to the success of contact.
Kato has pulled together an impressive spectrum of found sounds. His background as a video artist lends each piece a richly nostalgic feel. But there’s more here than simple reminiscences.
On “unformative figure,” the noise sounds vaguely environmental. After that, “flux” feels more like a surface-noise production effort. The white noise of “erosion” is different again.
The variety delivered by this side of Kato’s process is welcome, given the somewhat fixed contribution of the keyboards. The noise keeps us engaged and rewards a start-to-finish listen.