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Best of 2023

Masonna, Space Machine

Complete Space Tuning box (4Tapes Box)

The wooden box set of 4 audiocassettes, limited to only 99 copies, with three seven inch inserts, is a unique and exquisite collector's item. Crafted with precision and attention to detail, this wooden box is a testament to the artistry and dedication of its creators. Whether displayed as a centerpiece in your collection or enjoyed through the act of listening, this box set is a true embodiment of artistic craftsmanship. It is a treasure trove of sonic delights, encapsulating the spirit and essence of the music it holds. Conceived as a vehicle to explore electronic synthesis around the turn of the new millennium, Space Machine is Takushi "Maso" Yamazaki's "analog electronic cosmic sound project”. Combining elements of psychedelia, drone, and experimental music, Space Machine crafts a sonic tapestry that defies categorization. Yamazaki's sonic palette encompasses layers of space ring, hypnotic rhythms, and ethereal synthesizers, creating a rich and textured soundscape. His mastery lies in the ability to blend these disparate elements seamlessly, resulting in a cohesive and transcendent musical journey. Space Machine draws on the artists deep and long-standing love of early electronic music from the '50s and '60s, his collecting of analog synthesizers and vintage electronic equipment over the years that he was primarily active as Masonna, and a desire to find a new creative pathway for his work, which was facilitated by being forced, in 2000, to temporarily cease Masonna activities due to ill health, allowed him to concentrate more fully on that project that would emerge later that year.

In rapid succession between 2001 and 2005, Yamazaki released three full lengths and four EPs, all the products of his daily, tripped out inner explorations of music at his Space Machine Systems Studio. “Complete Space Tuning Box” gathers all these works, the project's debut - “Cosmos from Diode Ladder Filter” - the beautiful album "2" and "3" and the entirety of those EPs.
Space Machine is the perfect counterpoint to Masonna. Rather than screaming noise and physical action, here Yamazaki veers toward the territory of non-rhythmic, pure electronics that resonate heavily with post-war avant-garde synthesis, channeling a similar territory of sonority that emerged from studios like Princeton, Columbia, EMS, GRM, conjoined with more contemporary temperaments of electronica and onkyo free improvisation as well as the Krautrock of Zeit's Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze's early solo works  via analog echo machines and synthesizers (EMS VSC3, Roland System 100 & 100M, PAIA 4700 Modular, Doepfer Modular, among many others). The music of Space Machine has an otherworldly quality, evoking visions of distant galaxies and cosmic landscapes. Yamazaki's compositions often unfold slowly, building layers of sound that ebb and flow like celestial tides. There is a sense of vastness and expansiveness in the music, as if listeners are being carried through the depths of the universe on a cosmic voyage. What sets Space Machine apart is Yamazaki's keen sense of improvisation and experimentation. He fearlessly embraces unpredictability and spontaneity, allowing the music to evolve organically. Each performance becomes a unique and immersive experience, with Yamazaki navigating through sonic realms in real-time, defying traditional notions of structure and form.
The sonic textures and atmospheres created by Space Machine are hauntingly beautiful, with moments of introspection and introspective contemplation. Yamazaki's meticulous attention to detail and his ability to manipulate sound result in a multi-dimensional listening experience. The music engages the senses, stimulating both the mind and the spirit. Describing the project in the collection’s liner notes, Satoru Higashiseto states: "The flickering cosmic drama constructed from hallucinogenic electronic sounds is sometimes accompanied by back-projections that stir up psychedelic images in the mind. The performances are usually solo, but on occasion Yamazaki has invited guests such as Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple), Nakaya Koichi (Nasca Car), or Hasegawa Hiroshi (Astro, ex-C.C.C.C.), to create even more immense cosmic jam sessions." 
This incredible box, released in a deluxe wooden edition with digital printing on the lid limited to 300 copies, contains the first album “Cosmos from Diode Ladder Filter” released on CD on Alchemy Records , “2” released on Midi Creative , “3” released on double LP on Tiliqua Records and the four CD EPs released on P-Tapes, California based label run by Damion Romero, reissued for the first in a complete box, accompanied by a square pin and a series of photos of the impressive equipment used by Maso Yamazaki taken by Masahiko Ohno and extensive notes in Japanese by Satoru Higashiseto, translated into English by Alan Cummings. Whether experienced in a live setting or through recorded works, Space Machine's music is an invitation to embark on a sonic odyssey. It is an immersive and transformative journey that expands the boundaries of what is possible in music. Maso Yamazaki's visionary project continues to captivate and inspire listeners, pushing the boundaries of sonic exploration and paving the way for new possibilities in the realm of experimental music. Absolutely amazing and essential for any fan of the Japanese scene.