SHASO –train window–
12" (E68)

I recognise all countries, eyes closed, by their smell
And I recognise all trains by the noise they make
European trains keep 4/4 time while those of Asia go at 5/4 or 7/4…
— Blaise Cendrars, Prose du Transsibérien, 1913

This is Yôko Higashi’s fourth hamaYôko release.
SHASO was mastered and cut by Rashad Becker
at D&M, Berlin.

Many happy returns!

See also

Edition of 250 copies

When ordering more than one 12",
please email us first in order to
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On board an Aeroflot flight, Summer 2007
Photograph by Yôko Higashi


Lovely mysterious record by Yôko Higashi who has made
quite a few CDs for this label, including the excellent Pétrole
with Lionel Marchetti. This vinyl release I regard as a set
of electronic poems and aural versions of Utamaro prints,
little miniatures studded with surrealist clues. It's a strong
and puzzling mixture of tapes, electronics, voice samples,
varispeeding, and multiple exposures. Everything is carefully
executed, with much precision and clarity. Some railway
sounds on Kamakura Seven and Small Blue Hand almost
suggest there’s a conceptual railway theme underpinning
the album, and though it’s a bit sketchy this is borne out
by the title and a Blaise Cendrars quote on the insert.
Higashi’s intention seems to be to make the whole world
appear strange and alien, and many familiar vistas are
given the Higashi treatment to renew and refresh our
senses. Akai Pool is an especially evocative piece combining
electronic bleeps with singing and water sounds. Yuki Ni
Akago starts with sounds of a baby’s voices, adds treat-
ments, and introduces some vaguely disquieting electronic
music, loops and samples. Porta for Yokohama Citizen is
most successful, an elaborate construct packed with crowds,
talking, varispeeded voices, and is almost a mini-movie
(like other works by this artiste). Documentary recordings
from France, Corsica and Japan formed the basis of this
release, but the active ingredient is her vivid imagination.

Ed Pinsent in The Sound Projector

Yôko Higashi’s hamaYôko project is calculated musique
concrète and electroacoustic clutter that defies any easy
categorisation. There’s a kitchen sink approach to sound
sources and recording techniques, often juxtaposing very
clear sounds of mangled voices or sharp, percussive tones
against more distant background mystery. Higashi avoids
easy imagery but occasionally at the expense of coherence.
There are elegant surrealist gestures (as would be expected
from a label called Entr’acte) but other moments that hang
in a tension between exploratory sound construction and
expressiveness. This perhaps achieves pure ‘electroacoustic’
status, feeling equal parts electronic and acoustic. There’s
nothing earthy or organic about the sound sources but
SHASO –train window– is warm and inviting. It’s clear that
her approach is very focused, as these pieces sound like the
product of careful editing rather than accidents and luck —
though I wonder if chance elements might provide a bit
of distinction.

Lynn Sauna at Still Single

Recorded in France (Lyon, Ternay), Corsica, and Japan,
the seven tracks composing [this] 12-inch release are
a strange lot indeed. Anything but a minimalist, Higashi
creates dense and oft-woozy collages from a pool of field
recordings and electronic elements. Kaleidoscopic in its
shape-shifting form, the prototypical hamaYôko piece is
a little bit like [The Beatles’] Revolution 9 in its diverse
sound content and unpredictable trajectory. Side one
opens with a psychedelic mélange of electronic tones,
grinding hydraulic noises, and train sounds (Kamakura
Seven); follows it with crashing water sounds, a soft
murmuring voice, and swollen electronic tones (Akai
Pool); radio background material, creaking noises,
and convulsive shards (Small Blue Hand); and finally
guitar fuzz, male vocal meander, and electronic bleeps
(Headeck). Side two’s Porta –for Yokohama citizen– at
times approaches a noise piece when its mix of male
voices, crowd babble, and industrial grinding swells
to its most dense level. The album’s most disturbing
piece is clearly Yuhi ni akago (Infant for Sunset):
adding a baby’s babble to a portentous, even diseased
instrumental arrangement only intensifies the setting’s
nightmarish effect.

Ron Schepper at Textura