Odd, this. I’ve had Toshiyuki Sasagawa’s AQUA=MIZU in my daily playlists for almost two years now without ever eking out a coherent statement about it. I suspect that’s because it’s become such a familiar presence that it’s a little like describing the air. I also suspect talking about it will seem strange because it is so radically out of phase with the other music I tend to write about. What’s a guy who likes Merzbow and Fushitsusha doing writing about an album of soft solo piano that might easily have come from the Windham Hill label?
Well, I have my reasons — and if they seem more like excuses, then excuses they are. It was through folks like the noise-mongers described above that I backtracked into folks like John Cage, and then from Cage into Erik Satie. And from Satie into Harold Budd and Brian Eno, whose The Pearl I managed to listen to for hours on end without ever feeling like I knew where any one song really began or ended, or knowing where the whole record itself was meant to begin or end. It somehow in time became a part of the very environment of the room I was in, as did AQUA=MIZU when I played it. That said, I have to accept the possibility that what I hear in the record is only what I’ve chosen to hear, and that other people are going to simply compare it to all the other piano albums they’ve heard with a picture on the cover of some curtains blowing in the breeze.Read more