Paper, not plastic – Kioto Aoki
Produced in partnership with FPE Records and Asian Improv aRts Midwest’s AA Arts Initiative Program. Available for purchase on fperecs.com
Paper, not plastic is the second album of solo taiko recordings by Kioto Aoki, and her first for FPE Records. Fusing the minimal with the maximal, Kioto creates a space where melody is embodied by rhythm, and composition’s relation to motif is questioned. As with all of Aoki’s practice (she’s also a photographer and filmmaker), the medium imparts a veil: you can’t see her choreography in this sonic space, but her movements are integral to the way it sounds, broadcasting through stick hits and hollow echo a robust and nuanced practice of being through time.
Some of the compositions emphasize traditional pedagogy: “First Lesson” recalls the anecdotal training of the first technique a young taiko artist learns, and once mastered, is applied to maintain the pulse of a full ensemble throughout a performance. “Otoshi” is a fundamental phrase and exercise in which the mind teaches the body to feel the plasticity of temporal drive. Other pieces take advantage of Aoki’s control of the instrument and the space to reveal an abstract narrative, or to dazzle the listener with an epic sonic monochrome.
The recordings, rich with detail and nuance, come from Aoki’s close collaboration with producer Caleb Willitz, aiming to capture the aliveness of taiko in a room. Engraved here, aliveness is surely what you hear. Big declarations of boom, little punctuations of click, purrs of rumble and roars of motion. Distinctively, irrevocably human, drawn from nature, engaging fully with consciousness, balanced between what life is and what life comes from. A joy to listen
to, to be with, and to know.
Kioto Aoki – taiko
Executive Producer: Matt Pakulski for FPE Records
All Compositions by: Kioto Aoki, 2023 (ASCAP)
Recorded at: Midnight Tea Studios, Chicago IL, April 2022
Cover Image: Yukiko Aoki
1. First Lesson