airs

The four pieces here were recorded in a room, using a microphone, so traveling through air, thus explaining the title; but it has also to do with ‘the meaning of the word as a tune or a song, more broadly interpreted as a composition’. All of this using ‘pre-chosen guidelines related to form, time, sound sources and density’. The music is what we probably expect from Olive by now. It’s a bit noise-like, but of a more intelligent kind. Scraping and scratching, exploring tonal qualities of daily objects and all along listening to each other and reacting to what the others are doing. There is a strong interaction between these players, and they create some very dynamic music. Loud and quiet are on equal par in this album. Sustaining sounds and short sounds are also used in equal amounts and at forty minutes this is not a minute too long or too short. A refined album of some exciting electro-acoustic music.
(Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly)

All three musicians have done very fine, very exploratory work in the past, so there’s an extra level of appreciation for this set of quiet, relatively friendly tracks that make great use of silence, quasi-rhythmic elements and occasionally gentle, near tonal sounds, all combined to produce that feeling of ineffable structure that might be thought of as “song”. How this happens, I’ve no idea. True, the sounds themselves are less harsh that you might expect though there’s plenty of edge and rawness in, say, the opening metallic scrapes on the first track or some soft groans on the third, but they’re deployed in such a patient manner and spaced so well that they’re somehow capable of being interpreted as sung verses. As well, there tends to be either some spare sustained tones weaving through the mix or thin percussive ones.. These provide sequences of ticks or clicks that help form a (temporary) framework of sorts, rickety here, more solid there. The basic calmness in effect throughout, gently accented by these merest nods to wisps of tempi and melody are more than enough to impart that songlike feeling. That and the unhurried but flowing deliberateness. I’m afraid I’m doing a poor job at communicating how this music actually sounds but maybe that’s the nature of the beast. Just try it–it’s unique, wonderful and oddly adventurous in its (very) partial reversion to form.
(Brian Olewnick, Just Outside)

Airs is Olive in trio with Takahiro Kawaguchi and Makoto Oshiro, the latter two both on “self-made instruments”.  Again, this is an inventive affair based in creativity, not gear that comes out of a box (unless you count a box behind a hardware store dumpster).  Kawaguchi and Oshiro act as puppeteers of dancing, jingling, clamoring gadgets alongside Olive’s contained feedback and skronks.  Said animated inanimates sometimes find a locking “beat” and briefly latch onto quantized rhythms before falling to pieces.  For example, on the twelve-minute untitled second track, you hear a switch flick on to birth a 6kHz tone (one of those pure waves that changes as you walk around your speakers), and ticking bike bells bouncing from meter to meter almost set up a groove for airy hums to surf over; abruptly, the air goes out of this wind-up toy and brassy drones take over.  More nervous tinkering works in tandem to slowly cultivate a hypnotic mixture.  And the pauses: some of the most interesting materials comes between gestures where you can hear these guys fidgeting and regrouping for whatever might come next.
(Dave Madden, Nonnon)