|The title Elephantom was prepared for an album that is now called 1/2 after 5. When I got the sample-editing software Passport Alchemy in 1995, and completed the first work Alchemically Scratched, I decided to use the title Elephantom for another album that fully featured Alchemy. At first Elephantom was planned as a collection of audio work using a slow overlapping technique to create gradually changing eerie sound textures. While I was creating strange sound files with Alchemy, I was also about to edit my old pre-computer generated work from the 1980’s. This gradually changed the album’s concept into assembling a collection of my old ideas that I did not/could not complete when I first thought of them. I began to work with older ideas, but when I had a newer idea, I always wanted to try the newer one. Working intermittently back and forth between making newer work, with new ideas, and finishing older work later, the project entered a long time span. The concept then again changed into the idea of making a collection of work from various periods as a two disk set of older and newer work: The Memorial Junk (a ten year assortment) and Elephantom (a twenty two year assortment).|
After changing the direction of Elephantom, I decided to compose the opening track using my old recordings from 1976 to 1986. I constructed it in my original editing way with a cut and paste process, but using newer precise computer technology. The draft title was Flashback. It was then turned into Rush Back, and then using word play, into Backrush, but just before the completion of Elephantom, I settled on The Backlash because I felt that this word contained both of these two meanings: a strong backward reaction against something, or a motion between the loosened parts of a machine that may create a squeaking sound.
Dynamo begins with an NEC PC9801-like start-up beep because the idea of this composition came when I first heard this sound in 1987. The imagery is a program running on a computer. Its title is taken from the programing language called Dynamo, and Dynamo’s name was taken from DYNAmic MOdels, a program used by industry to calculate global resource depletion and limits to growth; not an electric generator, although the composition could relate to both images. The idea of the rhythm structure for Dynamo already existed at this time, but was never completed. Later in 2001, I tried to finish this idea, and the result without the start-up beep is titled Pre-Charge. It was published as the prototype for an EP called From the Small Stack. One year later, I made it a little more straight-forward with a colder touch using simulated computer background noise signals.
Alchemically Scratched was built with my first software oriented synthesized sound files using the additive synthesizer function of Passport Alchemy. The generated sounds are like playing a broken vinyl record with many scratches. Emphasizing the tonal part from these noisy files is similar to the techniques used to make scratch art. The title comes from these two references.
The concept for Three Phases for Time happened in 1978 when I was operating the speed controller of a compact cassette tape recorder my father had given to me to learn English. Instead I used the English Lesson tapes to make music. The idea was to overlap very short fast sounds and very long slow sounds, both beginning at the same time: layering of super-compressed and super-extended sound. The short fast sound would repeat much faster than the long slow sound, and the two would never repeat again. The overlap would always be different. This idea was difficult to do at the time because I was using ping-pong recording with two tape machines, but I did not have a dubbing console, so the process was very long and labor intensive. Later, I discovered that by using granular synthesis technology, I could more easily accomplish the same thing. The English text used for this composition is; Time nature diversely changes its attribute from the observer state. It is read by Alex: a synthesized speech voice on Apple MacOS, and is taken from Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
In 1983 I read about the nuclear tests in Bikini Atoll. I imagined that light from the atomic bomb traveled from the distant island through the sea. Glare on the Beach is based on my image: three video projection panels with the images of sea waves slowly turning into bright white light, then switching back to the original sea waves but instead they have a deteriorated, faded film texture. Tonal high signals are the extracts from recorded sea wave sounds using an intense filtering effect.
Unknown Flute is a modulated extract section from another work called uwn. The title uwn is shortened from the word unknown. The idea is from 1993, and is a random filtration used to make a melodious line from a harmony sound. I tried to compose it in a formal way, but it did not work well, because I could not get the right pitch range that I wanted. I used the same technique for a part of uwn, and I thought it worked better, because this uwn section already had a melody that I made for it before using random filtration. This emphasized the imagery of a windy melody that I hoped to achieve.
Another Movement is a remaining composition that was first created under the original concept of Elephantom. The following work, Forest of Rain, is composed for sampled cymbals. Another Movement and Forest of Rain are connected with an overlapping section. This was planned from the beginning when Another Movement was composed. When I began working on Another Movement, I decided use it as a long introduction to Forest of Rain. The idea for Forest of Rain is from 1985. Using this old idea with the cymbals became a reason to change the direction for Elephantom. Forest of Rain was once composed with drum machines in the same year as Another Movement, but this version was discarded. 20 years later in 2016, I discovered the sound module software Cymbalistic that is specifically for cymbal samples. I decided to try my idea again. (MP3/FLAC zip package includes the unedited versions.)
Rewind is made from my old work B. I took some sections from B, then modulated the extracted parts together to produce a new sound. I felt the result was like a strange rewinding auditory effect. This became an alternative possibility to use as an opening track for Elephantom.
The concept for Jam was made in 1981 when I learned another meaning for the word: crowded and stuck. I first tried this idea in 1984 using a drum machine while playing an acoustic piano randomly in a very fast tempo, but I thought the result was too rough. In 2002, I remembered this idea and tried to realize it again. Now with the aid of a computer, I could make the drum pattern more complex. In contrast with the drum pattern I created simple arpeggio-like patterns using synthesizers. The two together give a feeling of crowded busyness.
I began White, Orange, Blue and Pure Arc in 1981. I was often listening to audio check records that contain test signals, and wanted to compose work using only pure noise or pure sine waves. Between 1982 and 1984, I tried to make a series of pieces that contained the test tones but these were not exactly what I wanted to compose. I could not manage the material well enough to produce the effect that I had hoped for because the original information was on vinyl records, and I was copying onto audio-tape. The tapes inherently contain a hissing sound and each time I transferred the information to another tape, the hiss noise increased. Consequently, this rounded and distorted the sound rather than reproducing the original pure tones of the test records. It did the same to the sine waves. Using newer computer technology available, I decided to try this idea again in 2001 and was able to complete three pieces. The title of White, Orange, Blue comes from the frequency spectrum of noise: the colored noise. Noise like light is divided into color ranges that most closely resemble the frequency waves of visible colors. White noise, like white light contains all of these sound frequencies in equal volume. Although there is no color orange in academic noise classification, I used a little higher frequency width than traditional red noise for this piece, and called it orange. Blue noise is filtered to a higher frequency. The noise that I used for this work was weighted to a higher range than the definition of blue noise, and is considered to be violet noise. I was not aware of this until after I presented the work publicly as part of my EP qliqly.ep in 2001, but I didn't correct the title because I liked the contrast of orange and blue, rather than orange and violet. Retort is added as a bridge section to Pure Arc. A retort is a filtration device used to distill substances. I used this concept to filter pure noise to pure sine waves. Pure Arc is composed totally with pure sine waves. Sine waves contain no harmonics, but just one basic core frequency. It is the opposite of white noise that contains all frequencies.
A Home in Flare. The text: My home was in a small town. / Nearby a small park with a big tree was. / After the tree faded away. / Left a pile of fallen leaves. / Brought a day with a dry air. / And a little heat in it. / I saw a house in the flame. / The home remained in a light. This musical backtrack composition was first completed in 1997 without the lyrics. I had not recorded the work on DAT, and it was lost in a computer malfunction. Since I had changed the direction of Elephantom and right before completing it, I recalled this piece. I decided to place it just in front of the last track Return. The composition reflects my feelings and regard for the past. The result is not as close to the one from 1997, but still has its original mood. The text is read again by Alex, but in a lower key.
The last track Return has the same title as the last track of The Memorial Junk: collection of my 1977-1987 work. Elephantom was planned to make a set with The Memorial Junk, so I decided to share the title of their closing tracks. At first, I planned this Return as a piano improvisation like I used to do in my childhood; however, the original concept of Elephantom was as a collection of electronic compositions so I made the new Return using modulated pure electronic noise. The result sounds like the strange noise from the airwave reception as I used to hear it on the radio during my childhood.