Uma164 Space Machine – Space Tuning Box 3LP in wooden box sold out
“Yamazaki began home recording in 1987. He took the name Masonna for his solo noise project, and at the same time set up the independent label Coquette, on which he released several cassettes. Between ’89 and ’90, his debut LP and CD were released on the Kyoto-based label Vanilla Records. In addition, he gradually cemented his reputation on the underground scene through extremely limited (between 1 and 10 copies) 7″ acetate releases cut on a portable cutting machine, a bootleg LP (split with Violent Onsen Geisha) on RRR (USA), and many appearances on compilations from both Japanese and overseas noise labels such as Beast 666 (Japan) and Unclean Production (Germany). Before beginning Masonna, Yamazaki listened to a lot of hard rock, death metal, hardcore punk, grind core, and power electronics, and it was his unique digestion and interpretation of the original energy that this music possessed that led to his development of an unparalleled style of condensed fury. Moment by moment he emits screams and switchbacks of razor-sharp sound. This continuous stream of dazzling, rockist, catastrophic freeze-frames coalesce into an ultra-accelerated noise storm that is truly the ultimate one-man rock band.[…]
From around 1998 Yamazaki Maso started to incorporate trippy, spacey electronic elements into Masonna performances. In order to better pursue these elements alone, in 2000 he started Space Machine, his self-labeled “analog electronic cosmic sound project”. For as long as he had been performing under the Masonna moniker, Yamazaki had been ardent fan of early electronic music from the 50s and 60s, and in order to research the impact that electronic sounds had upon the spiritual lineage audible in sixties US and British psychedelic music and seventies krautrock, Yamazaki began collecting analog synthesizers and vintage electronic equipment. He continuously experimented with these instruments in his home studio, and while groping towards an understanding he discovered a new direction for his own music, a direction different from his work as Masonna.
The violent extremity of Masonna live performances made no allowances for avoiding inevitable and direct physical damage to the body. In 2000 Yamazaki was forced to temporarily cease Masonna activities due to ill health, and this allowed him to concentrate more fully on Space Machine. Space Machine – the end result of Yamazaki’s daily inner trip explorations of music at his Space Machine Systems Studio – and Masonna are like two sides of the same coin. Space Machine’s concept exists at the opposite pole to Masonna’s screaming noise action and extreme one-man rock band style. In Space Machine, all vocals, physical action and rock elements have been comprehensively excluded in favor of a non-rhythmic, pure electronic sound that cannot even be considered as part of the noise genre. The sounds are created using only analog echo machines and analog synthesizers (including the EMS VSC3, Roland System 100 & 100M, PAIA 4700 Modular, Doepfer Modular, etc). There is no use whatsoever of the fuzz and distortion effects so characteristic of noise and rock’s musical palette and which were heavily featured in Masonna.
While the sound does have points in common with what is generally known as electronica or onkyo, what sets it firmly apart is the music’s tenaciously psychedelic viewpoint. The absence of a beat signals its difference to the hedonistic physicality of trance dance music. And of course there is no connection to old synthesizer music with its whiff of religion and its leanings towards new age naturalism. However, in the fervent and endless cosmic spaces of Space Machine, in the infinite floating weave of its future retro electronic tapestry, in its mixture of the organic and inorganic we can perceive an uncanny vibration. In order to improvise a reflection of the flow of spiritual cosmic space in Yamazaki’s subconscious, he has naturally adopted a psychedelic sense of development” • Satoru Higashiseto
The legendary brainchild of Masonna’s Yamazaki Maso, conceived as a vehicle to explore electronic synthesis around the turn of the new millennium, this 3 LP box set gathers the first ever vinyl pressings of the project’s first full length, “Cosmos from Diode Ladder Filter”, originally issued on CD in 2001, and four CD EPs, “Dimension Degenerator”, “Orbit Vector Generator”, “Zone of Avoidance”, and “Space-Time Echo”, initially released between 2004 and 2005. Presented in a stunning wooden box edition of 199 copies, accompanied by documentary photos by Masahiko Ohno and extensive notes in Japanese by Satoru Higashiseto, translated into English by Alan Cummings, it’s an astounding object containing some of the wildest sounds likely to be encountered this year.
Yamazaki claims that his draw toward the context of noise is rooted in childhood encounters with the sounds of destruction on TV. Initially playing in psychedelic rock bands, following encounters with the work of artists like Hanatarash and Nord, he disappeared from view for a number of years, quietly developing his own singular vision of the idiom, before bursting onto the scene in 1987 as Masonna with a performance style, marked by frenetic energy, damaged equipment, wild body movement, and often personal injury, that quickly set him apart. Fascinatingly, despite making a remarkably distinct impact on the scene, Yamazaki was never one to be hemmed in or nailed down. Around 1998, he began to incorporate trippy, spacey electronic elements into Masonna performances, laying the groundwork for what would come next, the visionary project, started in 2000, Space Machine.
Described by Yamazaki as an “analog electronic cosmic sound project”, Space Machine draws on the artists deep and long-standing love of early electronic music from the ’50s and ’60s, his collecting of analog synthesizers and vintage electronic equipment over the years that he was primarily active as Masonna, and a desire to find a new creative pathway for his work, which was facilitated by being forced, in 2000, to temporarily cease Masonna activities due to ill health, allowed him to concentrate more fully on that project that would emerge later that year.
In rapid succession between 2001 and 2005, Yamazaki released three full lengths and four EPs, all the products of his daily, tripped out inner explorations of music at his Space Machine Systems Studio. “Space Tuning Box” gathers some of the most vital of these offerings, the project’s debut – “Cosmos from Diode Ladder Filter” – and the entirety of those EPs, pressing them on vinyl for the first time. Space Machine is the perfect counterpoint to Masonna. Rather than screaming noise and physical action, here Yamazaki veers toward the territory of non-rhythmic, pure electronics that resonate heavily with post-war avant-garde synthesis, channeling a similar territory of sonority that emerged from studios like Princeton, Columbia, EMS, GRM, etc., conjoined with more contemporary temperaments of electronica and onkyo free improvisation via analog echo machines and synthesizers (EMS VSC3, Roland System 100 & 100M, PAIA 4700 Modular, Doepfer Modular, etc).
Although there are no direct links to the great Kosmische music, the comparison to Klaus Schulze‘s early work is a must. Cosmic space bursts into Earth’s atmosphere, and the use of the legendary EMS VCS3 in Yamazaki’s hands takes us back in time, creating a time bridge between 21st century Japan and early 1970s Germany. A bewildering experience with space exospheres, black holes and cosmic darkness. Paths are a mixture of synthetic sounds whispered from beyond, spectral gusts, ultraviolet flashes along with a collage of electrostatic waves.
Woven across a brilliant series of sonic tapestries, drenched in tenaciously psychedelia, across the box set’s three LPs Space Machine reflects the flow of spiritual cosmic space in Yamazaki’s subconscious, sculpting a vibrating cosmic universe made up of the organic and inorganic. Describing the project in the collection’s liner notes, Satoru Higashiseto states: “The flickering cosmic drama constructed from hallucinogenic electronic sounds is sometimes accompanied by back-projections that stir up psychedelic images in the mind. The performances are usually solo, but on occasion Yamazaki has invited guests such as Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple), Nakaya Koichi (Nasca Car), or Hasegawa Hiroshi (Astro, ex-C.C.C.C.), to create even more immense cosmic jam sessions.”
This incredible box, released in a deluxe wooden edition with digital printing on the lid limited to 199 copies, contains the first album “Cosmos from Diode Ladder Filter” released on CD on Alchemy Records and the four CD EPs released on P-Tapes, California based label run by Damion Romero, reissued for the first time on vinyl across three LPs. The box is accompanied by a series of photos of the impressive equipment used by Maso Yamazaki taken by Masahiko Ohno and extensive notes in Japanese by Satoru Higashiseto, translated into English by Alan Cummings. Absolutely amazing and essential for any fan of the Japanese scene.