Apart from a brief but ardent infatuation with Dutch schlager singer André Hazes in April (you don’t want to know 🙂 ), musically the best of 2018 was the discovery of the oeuvre of Hiroshi Yoshimura (1940 – 2003) who worked within Japanese ambient.
I discovered Hiroshi Yoshimura while listening to Birds of Venezuela (1973), an album of bird vocalizations which was re-released this year.
This whole Japanese ambient scene is most weird. There is the super sweet Jamaica ～ Waves And Light And Earth (1993) by Takashi Kokubo, which Discogs classifies as non-music.
In fact, many of these albums seem to have been made as pure background music. Kokubo’s album Get At The Wave (1987) was created for a new line of Sanyo air-conditioners.
Then there is the oddity Watering a Flower (1984) by Haruomi Hosono which was commissioned by Muji as in-store background music. And Hiroshi Yoshimura’s A・I・R (1984) was produced for the makeup and skincare company Shiseido; while his album Surround (1986) was made for playing at the model homes of the Misawa Home corporation.
But the best album is Green (1986) by Hiroshi Yoshimura. Someone remarked that this album is what green sounds like, what plant life sounds like. So soothing, full of natural sounds that have a very relaxing effect.
Cecil Taylor was an American pianist and poet. Classically trained, Taylor is generally acknowledged as having been one of the pioneers of free jazz. His music is characterized by an extremely energetic, physical approach, producing complex improvised sounds, frequently involving tone clusters and intricate polyrhythms. His piano technique has been likened to percussion, for example described as “eighty-eight tuned drums” (referring to the number of keys on a standard piano). He has also been described as “like Art Tatum with contemporary-classical leanings”.
The apartment overlooks the Schelde and features artwork by Peeters himself, including murals and furniture he designed. Also, there is work by Michel Seuphor (personal favorite) and Jo Delahaut.
Photo: On the table of the living room: The last book Godelieve Peeters (his daughter who preserved the apartment as total artwork until her death in 2004) was reading before she died. On it are her glasses. It has been conserved as a crime scene. I imagine her falling dead on her book. There is a letter from De Witte Raaf under the book. The book is The Sublime Void.
I used to live in the apartment on the other side of the street, our windows faced each other. At the time, this must ‘ve been around 2000, I did not know who Jozef Peeters was.
I’m rereading Writing on Drugs by Sadie Plant, a book which is brilliant in its lateral connections, arguing amongst other things that the Industrial Revolution in England goes hand in hand with the legal use of opium as recreational drug.
Speaking of opium, I’ve published a photo of an oozing, exuding, secreting and leaking poppy seed head.
But that’s not what I wanted to show you.
On page 47 in Writing on Drugs is Flaubert and he is cited stating his desire to write ‘a book about nothing‘ (‘un livre sur rien’), in other words a plotless novel, an antinovel as it were.
“What strikes me as beautiful, what I would like to do, is a book about nothing, a book with no external tie, which would support itself by its internal force of style, a book which would have hardly any subject or at least where the subject would be almost invisible, if that can be so.” (Flaubert, Letters 170).
“That poetry is like the arts of painting, cooking, and cosmetics in its ability to express every sensation of sweetness or bitterness, of beatitude or horror, by coupling a certain noun with a certain adjective, in analogy or contrast” writes Baudelaire in an unpublished preface to a 2nd preface of The Flowers of Evil (translation by Marthiel and Jackson Mathews).
Beautiful isn’t it, this trying to connect poetry to cuisine and cosmetics via adjectives and nouns in logical combinations, evoking diverse sentiments?
The film is awful but aged 34 and feeling you haven’t seen everything yet and after all, you are from Belgium, and you see it anyway. You rent it a second time (you must be bored) and thankfully the video store clerk alerts you to your mistake.