Toshimaru Nakamura: Culvert – No-Input Mixing Board 10 / #2021reviews
No-Input Mixing Board is Toshimaru Nakamura‘s long-running series, which started in 2000 and, as the title suggest, it includes music created with a no-input mixing board, which basically means that Nakamura connects the outputs and inputs of a mixing board and then manipulates the resulting feedback loops. Besides many collaborations with the likes of Sachiko M and Otomo Yoshihide, he released several solo albums throughout the years, and while the numbering and titles got a bit confusing over the years, officially this is the tenth installment in the series. Back in the days I listened to the first few of his albums and while they included some great tracks, that I sometimes return to to this day, most just weren’t that impressive and I sort of lost interest after a while.
However recently I ran into this Youtube review which got me curious, so I gave a listen to Culvert – No-Input Mixing Board 10 which was released in October by Australian label Room40 (which also released the 9th NIMB album a couple of years ago). And I was in for a nice surprise. There are eight tracks, titled NIMB #63-NIMB #70 (we started with NIMB #1 on the first No-Input Mixing Board album) and the first one is also one of the most impressive ones, starting out with a rumbling loop, with bass coming in later on, then we have some tempo changes before the whole track morphs into a very different, more chaotic type of repetitive noise. The following track starts out with something that we could easily mistake for sampled junk metal sounds mixed with some high pitched tones and even though it a short one it keeps on changing and evolving. These are followed by two lesser tracks, NIMB #65, which isn’t much more than about five minutes worth of glitching and bubbling sounds over a subdued rumbling background noise and the next one is pretty much the same, but with only the glitching. Then however things get surprisingly heavy with NIMB #67 and #68, both with raw, brutal loops that could easily serve as a backdrop for power electronics tracks. NIMB #69 is my personal favorite with a quiet, slow loop that sounds like distant radio signals coming through static, with some very creepy sounds joining in here and there. It is meditative, hauntingly beautiful, but at the same time it gives you the creeps… a combination, that works very well for me. It is also the second longest track and is followed by the longest (and last one), that’s closer in sound to the first two and it features an actually rather groovy bass loop mixed in with some high pitched tones and it sounds almost like something you would find on an experimental techno release.
It is a perfect closure to a solid release, that not only displays how diverse can you get with such a simple setup, but is also great listening material. So, now all I have to do is catch up with all those releases I missed over the years to see if they are as good as this one.
Culvert – No-Input Mixing Board 10
2021.10.08 / cd, digital
A year in reviews: in 2021 I was somewhat neglecting the site due to the lack of free time, but now I try to make up for it as much as possible, reviewing several important / good / interesting albums that were released this year. One for each day throughout December, from a very wide spectrum of genres. #2021reviews