The bigotry related to reductionism is by now a surpassed phenomenon, especially since the “movement” has welcomed hordes of nondescript pseudo-Zen pretenders who built a career out of sitting mute in front of the audience for a hour of complete stillness, playing a single note then cashing the check.
Where’s the connection with Yu, one might ask. “Everywhere” is the answer, for this record by the Italian duo of David Sani (Shinkei) and Luigi Turra is an exemplary lesson on how to wrinkle intense quietness with significant snippets of sound. “Significant”, in this case, does not necessarily mean “new”: several choices applied by the composers are based upon elements already found in hundreds of neighbouring recordings (with particular reference to subtle presences of dripping water, birds and variously aged persons captured in a transitory phase of everyday life, everything rigorously Japanese from what I’ve been able to detect). But it’s the architectural assessment of the whole piece that makes all the difference in the world: Shinkei and Turra seem to have caught the exact formula for developing the inherent musicality of the sources more or less instantaneously, adding ear-striking frequencies that act both as stimulating counterpoint and enrichment of the basic material.
The commitment to the achievement of an open-minded state is manifest, the narrative resulting linear yet corrugated enough to render the listeners aware of their own fragility. There are instances in which the sheer subsistence of these adjacencies transports in a dimension of brokenhearted fulfillment, an example being the old blues mashed by the shortwave noises in the splendid “Nagoya Koen”, a track that sounds like a John Duncan/Akira Rabelais hybrid disrupted by sudden subsonic appearances.
The ensuing “Kin-Hin” exploits colors from another palette, intersecting rumble, harmonic resonance, whispered hiss and concreteness while remaining linked to the incorporeal aspects of creation. The stupor derived from this kind of listening experience - which can’t possibly take place in a less than silent environment, unless you want to diminish excellent music to the level of circumstantial noise – is exactly the mental frame that large portions of humanity are desperately trying to achieve.
Only, these people are just finding a way to erase the word “failure” from memory, incapable as they are of facing hard realities unaided. Yu, at the end of the day, is precisely that: a magnificent representation of solitariness. The core of a truthful existence, far away from the nonsense of spiritual futility and the affected pretence of “being one” with someone we don’t like, a pecuniary reward the real aim.