Yoshio Machida’s Hypernatural #3 is the last act in a trilogy of “electroacoustic collages.” I haven’t had an opportunity to check out the first two installments in this decade-spanning series, but this release at least lives up to its name.
Machida’s inspiration this time around is oblivion, the idea that destruction and creation share the same defining lines. Oblivion as a theme conjures up images of noisy, post-industrial keyboard erosion, but Machida’s sound is surprisingly more delicate and playful. He uses the sounds of the natural world and subtly tweaks them to mimic electronics and vice versa.
There’s much more attention paid to mechanical tones like soft percolations, subway track clacking, and the chaotic and haphazard radio tuner search through white noise on early tracks like “Oceans of Memory” than there is on later tracks. Even on these numbers, though, Machida’s instruments take sounds of the modern world and spit them back out as gnarled versions of city life.
The disc’s two best tracks come toward the end. “Scene 27: Symphony” begins with field recordings of waves crashing on the shore and flows slowly into limpid pools of rippling synths, broken up with glitchy electronic waves. The closer “Hypernatural” sutures a never-ending cello drone with the morning calls of birds. It’s a very organic scene, until Machida masks the avian chatter with varying levels of metallic treatments. The transformation is almost akin to circuit-bending improvisation. Instead of signaling the coming of more ominous, cloudy drones, the focus softens and quiets down in a six-minute fade out. All told, this album might be the most idyllic ode to oblivion ever committed to tape.