Midori Hirano/Kris Limbach – The Last Day on Earth, reviewed by Ryan Masteller

Ryan Masteller listens to the tape while the weather reports announce the arrival of a terrifying tornado. He eventually has to evacuate his house on the Florida coast, but he first writes, I’m just a ghoul willing these keys to type themselves with my mind (or my ectoplasm!) in the hope that someone will read this and seek out this tape before it’s too late, this tape that will then assist them in their passing into the great beyond, whatever comes after Earth.

Read the complete review.

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Midori Hirano/Kris Limbach – The Last Day on Earth, reviewed by Ed Pinsent

Ed Pinsent finds content, meaning, and expression in the C30 by Midori and Kris. He enters a world of sounds and describes what he picks up or hears in the distance, beyond the horizon of what might be his last day on earth.

This one arrives in a melted plastic bottle, and the tape is wrapped up in smoked cellophane. The packaging is already warning us that the last day on earth has already happened, leaving a charred globe behind. Evidently this is one of the artefacts that survived. It might have been a nuclear blast, or a meteorite. If the former, this package reminds us of the sad remnants of the survivors of the Hiroshima atom bomb (melted milk bottles, for instance; these can be seen in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum). -Ed Pinsent

Read full review.

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.