Text by Tabitha Piseno
On October 29, 2017 a storm hit the Northeast and developed into a bombogenesis—also called an explosive cyclogenesis or a weather bomb—a point where extreme shifts in pressure produce intense gusts of wind. New York received the gentle portion of the storm in comparison to some parts of New England, where gusts were clocked at 90 miles an hour, trees exploded, and over one million people lost their power.
The month’s new moon was just beginning to wax gibbous in its first quarter, causing low tide and averted flooding. The atmosphere this storm produced was harnessed by Aki Onda and Akio Suzuki during the final performance of their “fu-rai” U.S. tour, after a brief collaborative performance with Annea Lockwood hosted by Blank Forms at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, and it was sublime. Known for shaping sound with space through invoking the resonance of objects within specific settings, the two performed over the course of an hour and a half—dragging metal across the concrete floor, slowly pacing around while tuning a wind-up radio, occasionally prodding at various self-made instruments and cymbals on the floor, among other delicate gestures made with glorious timing. The wind, like a tempestuous specter, kept incessantly and violently swinging two glass doors near their performance area open and closed.
At one point Aki Onda propped one of the doors open as an addition to the performance, immediately creating a different reception of sound as the air pressure in the space shifted. The sound of sheets of rain on gravel, the chirping of crickets, the wind blowing through trees seamlessly integrated into their masterful orchestration. Never have I heard sound coaxed into being so gloriously or wind so bodied. It was pure alchemy.