Alan Licht & Aki Onda "Everydays"


Touching Extremes, Italy, 2008
Text by Massimo Ricci


Tape-based composition will never be out of fashion, although there's concrete evidence that the world of field recording is steadily becoming yet another way for giving people who don't know shit about properly making music a chance to inserting their invasive persona in contexts where they're not welcome, at least by this ever-grunting listener. This doesn't touch Alan Licht and Aki Onda, who all through the five tracks of this singular record show us intensity and originality in plentiful doses. It takes a sturdy artistic individuality to produce momentum from poor elements, and both the involved parties are up to the task in this case. Onda's lyrical use of the cassette as a means of evocation and remembrance - but also as a generator of curiously extracurricular patterns - spouses Licht's cruel maltreatment of his guitar perfectly, explorations of virtual unawareness recalling a past that not even those who lived it might be able to bear in mind. A brilliant demonstration of how sound, prosperous or meagre that it may be, remains the most powerful tool for the improvement of intelligent recollection. A lovely sense of achievement and the perplexity of noticing "wrong" happenings are equivalent facets in a music that transcends genres to turn into pure eloquence. Crawling away from middle-of-the-road avant-garde, Licht and Onda observe unlikely realities with the right attitude, letting everybody realize that birds and looped guitars (the magnificent "Tiptoe") do not automatically mean that they won't be trying, a moment later, to disembowel our pet nirvana ("Chitchat") without losing an ounce of pleasure. The first environmental sounds of our life were the muffled ones that we experienced in the womb; several parts of "Everydays" made me think of something comparable. You wouldn't say that after listening to the cacophonic, feedback-ish cadenced mess of the conclusive "Be bop", though.