TO:38 – Ryoji Ikeda “0 degrees C”

CD – 13 tracks – 38:27

This is Ryoji Ikeda’s fourth solo CD and his second for Touch, following the highly acclaimed +/- [1996]. He previously released 1000 Fragments on his own cci recordings, and Time and Space, a double 3inch CD, for Staalplaat.

Ryoji was constantly touring as part of the Japanese performance group Dumb Type, but now works as a solo artist.

“My music is a mirror for the listener”

OºC is an exploration at the edge of one’s perception – an extension of +/-and the next step.

C adds a velocity axis and a density axis to factors, Oº amalgamated numbers, structures, frequencies and sounds.

Track list:

C (1997-8)
01. C1 : : check
02. C2 : : cacoepy
03. C3 : : circuit
04. C4 : : contexture
05. C5 : : cuts
06. C6 : : counterpoint
07. C7 : : continuum
08. C8 : : can(n)on
09. C9 : : cadenza
10. C0 : : coda (for T.F.)
0º (1998)
11. 0º : : zero degrees [1]
12. 0º : : zero degrees [2]
13. 0º : : zero degrees [3]


Reviews:

The New York Times (USA):

The Japanese Composer Ryoji Ikeda uses the humblest scraps of electronic communication to cobble together his music: a tiny, narrow pop, like a single particle of radio static; a fax-connection screech; a bell-tone as soft as a feather against the eardrum; a drum-machine beat slammed up to super-speed, making a short, single block of noises, and a CD player skimming across a selection, catching glimpses of a song. It’s not ambient music; there are no long, enveloping tones. And its not dance music, because some selections have as much as five seconds of silence between each sound. But there’s always a building narrative to these pieces. They get longer as the disk goes on, and the listener grows increasingly comfortable with Mr. Ikeda’s strategies: but by bit, the composer reveals his logic. And in his own oblique way, he’s dramatic. You either love Mr. Ikeda or you hate him; his art elicits the same reaction as Ad Reinhardt’s black-on-black paintings – either a dismissive I-could-do-that or awed admiration.

VITAL (Netherlands)

New music by Mr Ikeda is always bound to attract attention, and his stuff has been included on a number of compilations since his amazing ‘+/-‘ CD on this same label, which included sounds which were only apparent after they had stopped playing. I did not spend much time listening to ‘1000 Fragments’, and in fact do not remember it. So there. Now to this – a less-than forty minutes CD (well I honestly didn’t try rewinding past Track 1 this time), split into two parts, the first of which consists primarily of a bunch of very short tracks of sample manipulations: the lengths of loops are changed on the fly and spun through orchestral samples, possibly in real time; blips and bleeps and broken beats dodge around each other like suffocating beasts in an overcrowded space. There are two longer tracks in the first part of this CD, ‘continuum’ and ‘coda’, which (like the remaining three pieces which comprise part 2) sound far too much like Mika Vainio’s solo excursions. They are slow shifting plateaus of sound which serve well as launching pads. These pieces are also strongly reminiscent of the music on ‘+/-‘, which remains my fave rave from this whizzkid.

PS. Uncle Staalplaat will also be releasing some music (including an excellent ‘Mort Aux Vaches’ session) by Mr Ikeda later this year. Wotch dis space…(MP)

The Wire (UK):

The latest from Ryoji Ikeda is a departure from the driven-snow, sine tone Minimalism of last years hugely impressive +/-. There’s more variety on 0°C, for a start, with the clicks and bleeps augmented by samples and a tendency for harsher sounds. Unfortunately, in this case more definitely amounts to less. The voice and violin samples, and the speeded up and treated breakbeats are of a very different conceptual bent to the purity and simplicity of the +/- material. Only a couple of tracks – “continuum” and “coda”, in the ten part series “C” – get near that pared down ethos. More involving is the three part “O”, the CD’s terrific last piece, where Ikeda builds a percussion track around a drill sound, hiss and sine tones. Their subtle modulations are far more rewarding than the rougher noise games that preceded them. Ikeda may be making a virtue of impurity, but O°C is disappointingly diffuse. [Will Montgomery]

New Powers (Canada):

Follow up to critically acclaimed +/- . Test tones, digital fizz, minimal rhythmic sections. Technical digitaria at its finest!

Calmant (Lithuania):

As the title may suggest, 0°C is a sonic exploration at a very bottom of human perception – the fragile line between life and death, dark and light, noise and silence. The authentic being is never to be achieved with complete and definitive perception of the universe – the limited human is just negligible drop somewhere between infinity and nonentity. There is no fulcrum for pretentious awareness and peace for one’s arrogant mind – obscurity, uncertainty and hesitation are the only true man’s satellites all along his lifeway. The limit of minimal 0°C is never to be overstepped, nomatter what labels might be attached at – noise, ambient of techno. 10/10

These Records Mail Order Catalogue (UK):

More cut-up and disparate than its predecessor, with sample, glitch and fizz in evidence, interspersed with his trademark test-tone studies and minimal rhythms. Inhumanly technical digitaria at its finest.

FACT (USA):

Though I never did get a chance to listen to the classic +/-, nor do I consider myself much of a noise connoseur (sic), I can appreciate Ryoji Ikeda’s 2nd Touch release, 0 degrees C. Adding a mathematical approach and a degree of rampancy to the genre, Ikeda’s noise is consistently fascinating. From track one, the listener is treated to a complex collage of tones, clicks and white noise (sounds that appear deceptively random at first hearing), sprinkled with unusual bits of found sound and, many times, a rhythmic pulse. The latter is especially evident on the last three tracks (Zero Degress 1-3), where Ikeda’s explorations of tonal minimalism rivals those of Panasonic.

.net:

Ryoji Ikeda is back with his follow up to his +/-, this one is called OC or Zero degrees centigrade? Minimal reverb,minimal samples. Full of beating, beeping, ticking, ambient moments that give way to thumping electronics. A truly gifted use of silence and hard edged electronics. His last cd made Juxtaposition Ezine’s Notable releases of 1997. “Sine tone madness. Extreme beep music. Really high notes. Really low notes. Really cool too. I love it. Zen techno rock garden of boops and drones. Sort of like a friendly MRI.

Your Flesh (USA):

Ryoji Ikeda’s work came to my attention recently through ther excellent +/- CD. He works in what might be called minimal techno, although the presence of beats and/or rhythms is often absent. The basic building blocks are pure electronic tone. Anybody sympathetic to Bernhard Günter, Oval or Pan Sonic should check this stuff out. 0?C is significantly jumpier and more random than +/- in parts. The beginning track features a series of skipping tones, blurts, and beeps. “C6: Counterpoint” works in an actual rhtyhm, “Co Coda” ends the “C” series with a slowly building piece. The second series of tracks, called “Zero Degrees” were recorded in 1998 and aren’t as jittery as the first. By the final track, a rhythm emerges from the frosty tones and the hiss and hum forms into what might possibly be a recognizable song. Ryoji Ikeda is working in a way that not only prompts the listener to contemplate what sounds constitute music, but how the arrangement of sounds work to that effect. This is music stripped of all the conventions of the dancefloor, reduced to very simple elements and then put together in a way that hints at what we call the song. It certainly is as likely to bewilder your average rave monkey as indie rocker. (Bruce Adams)

Art Zero (France):

Membre et producteur du collectif Dumb Type, cet electronicien suit une trace ambient-minimal pour une electronica avant-gardiste parfois aride. On pense a Scanner, Oval, Microstaria, Riou Tomita et a toute l’ecole Ash, comme Disinformation. C’est aussi une musique empreinte d‚une purete zen qui utilise souvent les infrabasses, un peu comme ISO, ou Sachiko M. Plus tourne vers l‚occident que vers son pays d‚origine, Ikeda est ainsi tres reconnu sur les scenes new electronica actuelles. Sur 0°C sa traversee climatique et electronique vire parfois au cut-up sonore japanoise, mais il sait toutefois se garder d’une repetitivite ennuyeuse par l’incursions subtiles de differences iteratives, de collages incongrus. Cela peut ressembler parfois aux passages les plus bruitistes du Revolutionary Pekinese Opera de Otomo Yoshihide, tout en gardant une trace minimale constante. Derriere une pochette epuree et vide se cache un album sature d’informations et de donnees exterieures, dans la droite lignee des ecoles Japanoise. Jerome Schmidt

Side Line (Belgium):

Third cd for this artist whose work is mainly dedicated to specialists. The cd is divided into two parts. C was realized in 1997/8 and contains 10 sequences that stand for deep sound explorations: frequencies, beats, Morse, all these are combined to give a very amazing result. The second part, 0C, was realized in 1998 and features three sequences. These have more to do with an exploration of perception through sounds evolutions (sic). As I said before, this is not a work for all of you. This kind of release dealing with sounds research is really dedicated to a well-informed audience. (DS: 7/10)