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ONDA, AKI - Cassette Memories Vol. 3: South Of The Border

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Important Records IMPREC309
Release Year: 2012
Note: intriguing and somehow almost surrealistic field recordings made in Mexico expressing the extreme polarities of the society, the third part of AKI ONDA's "cassette memories" (using intentionally low fi and even broken cassette-walkman's for recording his sound diaries)... "Somehow, in this chaos, the boundary between reality and imagination disappears"
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.50

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"South of The Border is the third installment of my Cassette Memories album series. All field recordings were taped in Mexico, a country I've had a special fondness for since I was a little child. My first memory was watching photographs and Super-8 films my father shot in Mexico City from his time there during the 1968 Summer Olympics, where he competed as a member of the Japanese national hockey team. It made me realize there is a place completely different from Japan, and I started dreaming about "another world." When I was a teenager, I encountered Alejandro Jodorowsky's seminal film El Topo, which shocked me with its surreal images and strong mysticism. That experience
shaped my primal image of the country, although I wasn't sure if it was true reality or pure imagination. Finally, I made my first visit to Mexico in 2005. I was amazed that everything was as I had envisioned. Mexico embraces extreme wealth and poverty, highly contemporary and primitive lifestyles, intellect and superstition, and any sort of polarities all in one. Somehow, in this chaos, the boundary between reality and imagination disappears. In this way, everything is possible, and that's what I believe.

Technical notes: I had three cassette walkmans to make field recordings while I was traveling in Mexico. Two became broken due to tape head and motor wear, but I continued using them. Some of the beautifully messed-up sound collages you will hear were produced accidentally due to the imperfect condition of the recorders.
Additional notes: The first and second Cassette Memories albums, Ancient & Modern and Bon Voyage!, were both released in 2003." [label info]


"Music from Aki Onda rarely makes it to these pages. I am not sure why. Maybe there isn't that much or perhaps these labels don't mail us their promo's. In this case I got the CD from Meeuw, who did an excellent design for this release, rather than the label itself. Onda's 'South Of The Border' is placed in Mexico. His earliest memories are from the super 8mm movies his father made from the Olympics in 1968 where he was a member of the hockey team. Later on Onda saw 'El Topo' and then, finally in 2005, he visited Mexico himself for the first time and it was everything he thought it would: rich, poor, contemporary, ancient, intellect and superstition. In 2009 and 2010 he went back with three cassette walkman's to do field recordings; two of the machines broke down but could still be used, which Onda did. All of these field recordings form the basis of his five compositions. Very few of them involve real instruments, usually a fanfare on the streets, but there is also flute like sounds in 'I Tell A Story Of Bodies That Change'. I am not sure how Onda works around with his sounds, i.e. wether he loops them around or wether he plays them straight forward. I do know he adds a bit of electronic processing, such as kaos pads and also amplification is quite important in his work. The five pieces are very strong. Rich in textures, moody and atmospheric, with lots of hissing, droning sounds from whatever strange sources Aki Onda found on his way. At times I was thinking about insects, but at other times it may very well just wind blowing the cave somewhere, or sounds from a shopping mall. In either case: it sounds mysterious and intense. This is some very nice music based on field recordings, but then recorded and treated in such way that we very rarily hear. Excellent release." [FdW/Vital Weekly]