The title nods to a 16th-century study of magnetism, and it is magnetism that is at the heart of this release, with Takuji Naka’s cassette decks and Tim Olive’s magnetic pickups, across five untitled tracks, initiating a dream-logic-imbued semi-narrative flow, in which “out of date” low-tech sound sources are at the service of an ears-forward compositional sensibility. The use of pliable metals, analog electronics and a battered spring reverb unit, along with the inherent instability of cassettes, results in an atmosphere of subdued unease, over-the-horizon mystery and a burnished, melancholy beauty. Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch to link Naka’s career as a temple gardener in Kyoto and Olive’s relatively recent involvement in film with the music’s austerely organic and eerily cinematic aspects, but there you have it. Recorded in the mountains in the north of Kyoto in 2013, the CD has a strong sense of place, but as befitting magnetism’s play of opposites, that sense of place shifts and flickers; time ebbs and returns; the light grows dim.
CD digipak release, with liner notes in Japanese and English by musicologist/writer/composer Wakao Yu.