CMU Approved

Approved: Sanmi

By | Published on Tuesday 2 August 2011


Japanese musician Kyo Yanagi describes his Sanmi project as an “experimental unit”, which he has been working on since 1998. Though, as far as I know, this new EP, ‘Improvisations’, due for release via Bigo & Twigetti on 5 Sep, is his first UK release.

According to the press release, the tracks on the EP are created using “algorithmic processes such as Fast Fourier Transformations and Pythagorean harmony”. That’s using complicated mathematics to make music, to you and me. Or to me, at least. I just tried to read up on those two things and they made my head hurt. What I can tell you with more confidence is that the results are excellent.

Saying that someone created music using maths might turn a lot of people off, conjuring visions of rigid, overly technical, emotionless music. But that really is not the reality. The EP’s ten minute opening track, ‘Aqua’, is a gently flowing mixture of entwined twinkling synths and bubbling marimba, with creaking bass slowly sliding along underneath.

Conversely, ‘Blindman’, which can be heard below, is more abrasive. Using a wider pallet of classical instrument sounds, it is punctuated with occasional squeals of synth and what sounds like someone rubbing their finger over a balloon.

Elsewhere, ‘Mush Room In The Cosmos’ is a solo piano piece, which sounds as if it’s being played in the next room by someone who doesn’t realise anyone is listening. It’s performed with genuine, quiet emotion and shows off yet another side to this intriguing EP.