The opportunity to collaborate with the globetrotting duo of Celer was taken by Yui Onodera as a chance to explore his Tokyo close up and with fresh ears. He compiled a wide array of field recordings ranging from migratory geese who only make one, short pitstop in town a year, to chanting worshippers, kids playing in the school yard and rainwater flowing from an eavestrough.
Onodera is keenly aware that the key to creating something authentically, universally appealing is to keep it local. Celer, Will Long and the late Danielle Baquet-Long, whose prodigious discography features sounds recorded as far afield as the Mediterranean Sea and the wheat fields of Texas, collected their own impressions of Los Angeles.
Both recorded plenty of to-ing and fro-ing, the urban rhthym of movement on the street, mass transit and airport departure gates. The goal was to create a ”generic city”, and they have succeeded in fusing the two cities into a single, immediately recognizable one, not for its monumental parks and skyscrapers or unexplored backstreets, but for its interaction of people and architcture, architecture and the environment, the environment and the fast pace of change characterizing any major metropolis.
And yet they position the listener at a fixed point in the middle, most palpably on the beautifully drawn-out ”Waiting for Something Else to Happen”, watching the passing parade as if in colourful slow motion. Detail is rich and images are sharp. Onodera alludes to reminding the listener of the the commonalities lost our incessant global chatter. A gentle commonplace, perhaps, reflected by the short music-box trill inserted to conclude the radiant opening track, ”An Imaginary Tale of Lost Vernacular”.
Generic City is the first release on the Two Acorns label, founded by Long last year with the intention of keeping the physical object relevant in an age of invisible information storage. And as an object, this album, its music and its artwork will long enjoy pride of place on the shelf.