Keiji Haino is a master instrumentalist—particularly of loud instruments—so this album featuring his unamplified voice comes as a bit of a surprise. Recorded by sound artist Eric Cordier, these recordings find Haino improvising in a small church and in a quarry in Normandy.
Haino works hard to feature the full range of his voice, from quiet whispers and growls, to loud and baleful screams. Cordier’s recordings are crystal clear, so you can hear every whistle of air and passage of liquid that moves through Haino’s throat. Haino’s range places him in remarkably good company with other vocal improvisers out there, like Jaap Blonk, Paul Dutton, and Koichi Makigami.
The first thing I expected about this album was that Haino would use a looper to create the amazing layered choruses he often improvises in concerts. But this is Haino at his most bare and quiet and it still matches the concentrated intensity of his louder performances. Haino having put out a variety of recordings of solo instrumentations (hurdy-gurdy, theremin, electric and acoustic guitar), it only makes sense that he would choose to create a solo recording of the primal instrument, voice—his own a powerful and unique one.