Review Summary: The end of all music.
There are no words to describe the experience of listening to this album. I was well aware of what I was walking into, and I felt, for the sake of giving this review an air of legitimacy that I would listen to it in its entirety. This is an album. It contains one song. It contains a total of two sine wave tones. It runs sixty minutes and four seconds.
It's the pinnacle of the post-modernist art movement. It's the end of all music. The ultimate minimalist record. Call it what you will. Art even. Enjoyable? This was the most unbearable music experience of my life. In retrospect it inspires a lot of thought. I think, does this have a right to exist? What is music? Must I enjoy music? Is it inspiring reaction from me enough to justify it? Even if that reaction is a near physical sickness due to its tinnitus like tone? Why am I searching for meaning in something that, may for all purposes be meaningless? Why do we seek meaning in what could contain none?
Take my review with a large dash of salt, I am completely at odds with the Onkyo movement, which this album is a part of; whose intentions are more an exploration of physical rather then aesthetic expression. Whilst I can appreciate that yes, like many artistic landmark pieces of music in the past it 'had' to be done (John Cage, 4"33, I'm looking at you), the end result, aside from being unbearable to me - illustrates a complete lack of, well, tone. There is nothing to find in listening to it. A detailed breakdown of the album is simple. A single tone plays for five minutes. At that point the tone suddenly takes a small rise in volume, no pause, it just rises. This tone plays on until exactly thirty minutes have passed, then another tone immediately kicks in alongside the first. No intro or buildup, it just starts. At exactly fifty five minutes, the second tone that entered, leaves just as fast as it came. The first tone has played the entire length of the album, and plays until exactly sixty minutes have passed, and Sachiko M switches it off.
On one level, that sounds very aesthetically daring. And yes, it is. To release an album of 60 minutes, one track and two tones would be considered the ultimate trolling experience, if Sachiko M was a more mainstream artist at least. But seeing as she is incredibly niche, though considered a founding figure of the Onkyo genre, I keep wondering if there's something I'm missing in this album. Two tones. No changes or development aside from the 30 minute addition.
When you reduce music to this level, a complete absence of depth, nothing to discover; yet some will still listen to the seemingly endless, unchanging tone...how do you review it? How do you actually say it's good or bad? It just is.