Midori Hirano – And I Am Here, 5th edition

Twelve new copies of Midori Hirano’s And I Am Here, a release I continue to like for the otherworldly tunes, its simplicity and its kindness. In the artwork you’ll find some quotes from previous editions. I tried to manufacture a cheaper edition, cheaper because of the used material.

They will be available at the staalplaat shop very soon, and at one of Midori’s performances. Or get in touch with her in person.

More info on a special page.

Midori Hirano - And I Am Here, 5th edition

Midori Hirano – And I Am Here, 5th edition

SOON!

In the process of dubbing now are three releases, Jeff Surak’s All Gold, Midori Hirano’s And I Am Here (5th edition) and Slow Slow Loris’ From Monster till Mourning. Most probably a brandnew release of which I will do the full announcement later this month, will be added to this batch.

These tapes become available at the staalplaat shop in Berlin, of course also here (postal) at my address before the end of January.

In the coming weeks I will make a list of earlier staaltape releases that will be re-issued. The Audiozine#1 Glenn Branca will be one of them, albeit with different cover art, because those xray pictures I used are finished.

Review of Midori Hirano – And I Am Here

Ed Pinsent stepped out of the elevator, after a ride up to the roof to look at the aeroplanes descent or climb up to the nearest cloud. It was twenty minutes to go up  and twenty minutes to return to street level again. The loudspeakers in the elevator transmitted Midori’s tape.

Here’s what he wrote in The Sound Projector when he came back home.

“And I Am Here (STAALTAPE) by Midori Hirano is the latest cassette tape to arrive from Rinus van Alebeek’s Staaltape label. We have heard instances of classical pianist Hirano’s work before, namely LushRush and Klo:Yuri, both on the Japanese Noble label, records which I’m sorry to say did not endear themselves wholly to me; her work seemed too cloying, sentimental, verging on the twee. To be blunt, her first album was so wispy it struck me as “an avant-garde attempt to make an Enya album” at the time. However, she’s worthy to be included in the Staaltape inner circle, and was one of the many contributors featured on theBerlin Tape Run 2 cassette, so I will attempt to restrain my acerbity.

And I Am Here works well as a good assembly of sounds, namely unadorned field recordings mixed with short passages of music, either Hirano playing an out-of-tune piano, or singing, or both. The notes here indicate that she regards the piano itself as a “found object”, much like the field recordings are “found sounds” on one level. She embraces the fact that the instrument is “strongly detuned”, and there are no efforts to overcome this obstacle. Right there I must admit it’s an improvement on the studio-based process-heavy albums from 2006 and 2008, which just seemed to have one too many interfering layers of additional elements, particularly from her computers. More to the point, And I Am Here works because it integrates the musical passages into the imaginary landscape created by the field recordings, so the tunes are not set aside as “art”, but are rather to be heard as part of the overall continuum of life. Conversely, the field recordings start to sound more like music in this context; and in support of this she has certainly selected some highly positive and user-friendly sounds, evoking sunny days, good weather, children at play. None of the urban squalor or menace which might be conveyed using recordings of factories or over-crowded streets.

At the end, I personally find her tentative voice an irritant, and her minimal piano tunes still appear maudlin to me, but as noted I do appreciate the more rugged and raw abstract tendencies on this assemblage, which I find preferable to her slightly over-produced studio works. As a statement, this cassette is concise and direct with its moments of distilled beauty. At best, moments of the tape are as strong as Eno’s Music For Airports, a comparison I do not make lightly; it’s got the same centre of stillness and calm. 18 copies only in this first edition; I received this copy 10 February 2015. I note from the most current page of the Staaltape website that it’s already up to a fourth edition.”

From this fourth edition there is only one copy left at the staalplaat store in Berlin (mailorder too).

Keep an eye on this blog for the announcement with pictures and all of the upcoming release:

Jeff Surak – All Gold

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On this picture the first packing of Jeff’s tape. Pictures of booklet and ultimate packet still to come.

 

 

4th Edition of Midori Hirano – And I Am Here

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The fourth edition of Midori Hirano’s tape comes again in a limited edition. There are ten copies made. When you look at the pictures you might understand why I cannot make bigger numbers.

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Not in the picture are the central pages of the booklet where you will find a short story. Once these copoes are gone, I -or maybe Midori- will start working on a fifth edition.

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This is how it looks like in the shop.

Find more staaltape releases in the staalplaat catalogue.

Complete information on Midori Hirano – And I Am Here

3rd Edition of Midori Hirano – And I Am Here

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These are the ten copies of Midori Hirano’s cassette release for staaltape, And I Am Here. It is the third edition. And this one is entirely made by Midori, the artist edition. I have no idea what you have to pay for it. As I can judge from the picture alone, this tape goes beyond any standard cassette release. Write to Midori and find out for yourself. The tapes shown in the picture will not become available at the staalplaat shop in Berlin.

I am very glad Midori proposed to produce one edition by herself. It adds a new quality and character to staaltape. The deeply rooted connection with Berlin is ensured as well. If the possibility arises I will surely encourage other artists who appear on staaltape to make an artist edition.

Said this, I can announce that work on my own fourth edition of Midori’s tape has started. The tape will arrive at the shop in Berlin by the end of July.

 

Some titles from staaltape are still available.

2nd Edition of Midori Hirano – And I Am Here

The second edition of Midori Hirano will be out on 4. May. It is an edition of ten copies. Midori will get four, staalplaat the shop will have five. One will be send to a customer.

The first edition of eighteen copies is sold out. The four copies that went to the staalplaat shop in Berlin were sold within ten hours.

You might like to pre-order from Midori.

Here’s an overview of the other staaltape releases at the Staalplaat (on-line) shop.

Midori Hirano – And I Am Here reviewed: “Wonderfully Poetic”

On 30. January Midori’s tape became available. The staalplaat shop received four orders within ten hours. Of the twelve copies Midori received only a few are left.

I will start working on a new edition, probably with slightly different artwork. Pictures of that ongoing process will be published on staaltape’s twitter account, appear also in the sidebar at your right.

FdW wrote a review in Vital Weekly:
“Midori uses here field recordings from Europe and Japan, which she uses as a backdrop to her piano playing, and that piano is a found object itself, so it detuned a lot over the years. It makes it all wonderfully poetic and intimate music. You hear some birds twitter outside and down the hall someone is playing this detuned piano.”

“It’s a bit like one of those releases on the Japanese Flau label, but with an even more lo-fi approach when it comes to recording. Nothing about this is perfect but that’s the beauty of it. Like someone recorded this on a cassette over some time, sticking random events together. Excellent release, so let’s hope there will be a second, bigger edition.”