Yoshi Wada: Lament for the Rise and Fall of the Elephantine Crocodile

Nate Cunningham

Singular, vintage sounds from one Japanese visionary with the help of some plumbing pipes, a swimming pool, and an air compressor.

Yoshi Wada

Lament for the Rise and Fall of the Elephantine Crocodile

Label: EM
US Release Date: 2008-01-22
UK Release Date: Unavailable

This reissue of a little heard but oft-discussed 1981 record by Fluxus artist Yoshi Wada contains two half-hour-long tracks that couldn’t have less to do with each other. To match the record’s long, meandering title that expresses nothing, we get one meandering piece of overtone singing that expresses nothing, no matter how many times it’s repeated that Yoshi Wada studied under the legendary Pandit Pran Nath. But to match the highly intriguing cover image of Wada in a dried-out pool, playing around with what looks like plumbing pipes hooked up to equipment from a thirty year-old outer space movie, we also get a brilliant, unprecedented drone on his home-made “pipe horn”. The instrument produces tones that psychedelic rockers might wish the bagpipe sounded like -- magnificently lo-fi and chunky but not in the least grating -- and it actually is made out of plumbing pipes, although the contraption they’re hooked into isn’t a sci-fi prop, but an air compressor. The resulting track is like the drone equivalent of an ancient proverb: if you put it on in one mood you’ll come away thinking it’s unrelentingly fierce, while in another mood it’s gentle enough to put a kid to sleep. The only thing that’s certain is fans of minimalism and adventurous ambient should get on this; you haven’t heard anything like it before.

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