WaNoWa cover



What is the purpose of music? Is it to reflect nature? To stir the mosh pit? Convey the human experience? Deepen our understanding of a particular musician? Or offer us a portal to something beyond our understanding? Words (and rhetorical questions) falter before a record like WaNoWa.

The lone sound on the album’s four sides is a single-note percussion instrument called the “Choir Chime,” with credit given to twelve Japanese players. Internet sleuthing reveals that these players come from “Yamato Kogen Taiyo no Ie,” a support facility for people with disabilities in Yamazoe-mura, Nara Prefecture.

Perhaps it is all helmed by producer and percussionist Yohei Yamaura (composed in memory of those who lost their lives in the East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011), but the music (if that’s the right word) defy the constraints of ego and intention. How can twelve players be so still? The chiming tones — pure and resonant as melted ice — come at irregular, intermittent intervals, sounding in a way that cannot be anticipated, like raindrops off of a roof eave well after a storm has passed. Maybe it’s closest to the sound of windchimes, but minus the wind, that sense of motion. Instead, it’s the transformative sound of stasis and suspension, an ambient listening experience that doesn’t ease the mind so much as erase it entirely.

Andy Beta

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