KENJI SIRATORI & GOLDEN AGE
It is at least slightly on purpose that the second CD that I review today is about as far from the first as possible. This fits strongly in the hard, electronic sound category. Golden Age (or, I think, GOLDEN AGE) is a Russian electronic act out of Moscow and Kenji Siratori is a post-human Cyber-cut-up (in the way of Gibson via Burroughs, not in the way of Kaufman via Max Headroom) from Japan. The former provides the sound and the latter the vocals.
Golden Age has a strong, hard beat. The phrases "dark" and "driving" or "gritty" might be applied if I was up on the lingo. As it is, their sound is just unpolished enough to be borderline annoying, which works well for what they are looking for. They overuse their favorite beat, and the forefront sounds could have been a little more experimental, but this is not a field full of diversity. Quite often, entire CDs in this field sound pretty much identical with only slight variations showing up. You take it or leave it. If you are a fan, then it is something with which you are familiar and have worked past.
And, of course, this helps to highlight the more "playful" tracks when they do arise, like the more up-tempo but just as dark "Strange Gods" and the two part piece with wider horizons "Corpse City" (these two and "Space" are my faves). Beyond this, it is sort of pointless to highlight individual tracks. Not only are they very much of similar cloth with one another, but this CD, I find, works as a whole more than as a part.
The main theme throughout is a constantly rambling spiel in Japanese by Kenji Siratori, going from unaffected to enhanced depending on the mood. I have NO clue what is being said, and if his novels are any indication, its is more about a sensation of trying to think like a slowly breaking down computer anyhow (which is HONESTLY effect he is trying to go far...though, well, results may vary...you can see some of his works on Amazon and that is pretty representative of his whole). His voice really works for me, it definitely makes the album. I would have liked to see some more rhythm and a few different tempos on top of the inflections, but it just constantly spills out and fills in the CD. And, considering that one of his lines starts "watashi" and ends "computa" his monologue might have a completely different feel from his written works (in other words, it begins "I" and ends "computer", which is more structured than his novels).
I'm going to go ahead and assign this CD a rank of good, it has a beat but you shouldn't dance to it. Nevertheless, it makes a good ambient album for its type. It is strangely relaxing in its "anything but" sort of way. You do have to import it from Japan, but is less than half the cost of most import CDs and the guy who runs the shop takes care of the merchandise while shipping ot over, so I recommend the link to the left. And, if you go the Myspace page (which is the Myspace page for the CD, not either of the artists, though you can follow links to get to them) you can hear a few good samples over the overall effect.
By: W. Doug Bolden (США)
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