Thursday, April 14, 2011


Song: "Peony Lantern"
Artist: Ikue Mori
Search Term: "Peony"

Ikue Mori is an experimental percussionist and composer (who has apparently worked with such luminaries as Sonic Youth, Arto Lindsay, Mike Patton, and John Zorn, though not on any projects I believe I've ever heard). Knowing that, you will likely not be surprised to hear that this track is a shape-shifting celebration of the sounds of things colliding with other things, filtered through any number of computer effects that render the entire thing at once more precise and more sprawlingly messy than any human drummer could ever achieve. It doesn't strike me as unlikably pretentious at all, though. In fact, it's really cool: At some points there is a distant, chiming, placid rhythm to the piece and at other points it's just a tumbling aural collapse, but either way the noises she conjures are fascinating. Everything is so heavily delayed, pitch-altered, and otherwise mutated that the only sounds I can take a reasonable stab at identifying are the juxtaposition of a live cowbell and the crummy "cowbell" sound from an old 808 machine that show up at around the 5:00 mark. There's obviously nothing traditionally songlike about it, but Mori's hollow, amelodic composition is a thing of such otherworldly beauty that, if outer space were able to carry sound, I expect it's the sort of thing a stranded astronaut might hear while floating in the no man's land between celestial bodies.

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