Bagpipe organ sirens.
To understand what Yoshi Wada was up to with ‘The Appointed Cloud’, I have to take you back to 1987 when the album was first created. Yoshi Wada set up a pipe organ installation in The Great Hall of the New York Hall of Science. It was entirely interactive where a giant pipe organ and various smaller homemade instruments were controlled by a computer. It had a custom interface and software to trigger different pulses and waves to make the instruments sing.
This was Yoshi Wada’s first large scale music installation and he says it is still one of his favourites. ‘The Appointed Cloud’ is a live 64-minute single track performance of the opening night. Here Wada performs the installation with three bagpipe players and a percussionist. The result is a weird drone mix of wailing bagpipes, creepy pipe organs that gargle and moan and rolling timpani and gongs. It is atonal, abstract and often detuning like it’s tapping into your brains frequency and altering it. There are some mildly melodic moments but the whole piece is around waves of sound and energy on different instruments. After a mellow low, the bagpipes will scattergun into a siren frenzy and then be blasted away with giant drums, sheet metal and gongs. This cycle repeats several times across the hour.
I must admit, musically this album didn’t click for me as it felt too atonal and drone-like. Think of a pagan ritual where no one is playing the same single note in unison and it is a rush wave of noise instead. I think seeing this live may have been more of an experience as you could feel the resonance vibrating the fibre of your being. The pipe organ bellow hums in a way that can shake you up and I’m sure that would have been something. There also seems to be some beautiful blue art all around the performance too which makes it feel otherworldly. If you enjoy your drone music with a bit of a ritual undertone though – this album will perfect for you. It is being released for the first time on vinyl so if you want to get lost in the chaotic siren of Yoshi Wada and his pipe organ dreams, this is the best way to do it.
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