CD, Ant-Zen/Le Petit Machiniste, 2010
It is a tenuous, even precarious, line that Nin Kuji follows on “Sayonara”, his newest release on Le Petit Machiniste (and his first on Ant-Zen). His hallmark slow builds into maelstroms of tribal industrial chaos shown on previous releases (like the ridiculously enjoyable “Medicine Man” EP) are still in evidence, but on this album they are offset by sensitive – possibly poignant – melodies that make the impact of these merciless drum lines all the more brutal. In fact, the maintenance of this delicate balance is what makes “Sayonara” an excellent record, rather than merely a good one. This layered, constructive approach on individual tracks can even be viewed as a reflection of the macrocosm in the microcosm – “Sayonara” as an entirety exhibits this slow build from one track to the next, climaxing in grand style across “Tamashii”, “Hitori [Part V]” and “Theatre [Stages]” before winding down in a trance-meets-industrial spiral… Thankfully, this holistic method of listening is not essential, and each individual track stands up as an entity unto itself.
I would even go so far as to say that it is somewhat difficult to find fault with “Sayonara”; some may bewail the lack of immediate access – slow layering is not everybody’s cup of vodka and Red Bull – while others disparagingly complain about producers that don’t introduce vocals to their work – despite the difficulty they face in making their music interesting and textured enough to not be reliant on something as pedestrian as language. Personally, I would urge these gainsayers to, in the vernacular, shove their opinions where the sun don’t shine. And I don’t mean the closed cave ecosystems of the rainforests of Madagascar, or forgotten ocean trenches where living nightmares swim.
It is on this album that Nin Kuji steps up his game and leaves behind the realm of electronic music production, entering into that of composition. “Sayonara” has gone far past simple sample manipulation and sequencing. This lovingly crafted album is a wonderful example of how, even in these pre-collapse days, the logos of the universe can manifest in a surge of pure creativity that can then be replicated and distributed amongst a wide audience to inspire each subsequent listener with the merest touch of its magic.
Too wordy? Try this: “Sayonara” is awesome. In a genre renowned for (and dominated by) massive, Neanderthal beats and angry outbursts, Nin Kuji makes us remember that there’s still a musical element to be taken into account . Given that this album has been cooking slowly since 2001 – although it is surprisingly accessible for such a self-indulgent creation, evidenced by tracks like “Journey to the Centre of Myself” – it’s really no surprise that something so powerful, yet still refined, is the eventual result.
— David van der Merwe