Back in November, Aki Onda (cassettes) and Alan Licht (guitar) played a two day residency at Cafe OTO as part of the London International Festival of Exploratory Music (LIFEM). The duo combined the textural dynamism of Onda’s ‘cassette memories’ with Licht’s free blues guitar for a sound capable of both intense pressure and delicate interplay. They played on the first night as a trio with Michael Snow and presented solos on the second night alongside the London premiere of Aki Onda’s Cinemage project.

Aki Onda is probably best known for his Cassette Memories project – works compiled from a “sound diary” of field-recordings collected by Onda over a span of two decades. Onda’s musical instrument of choice is the cassette Walkman. Not only does he capture field recordings with the Walkman, he also physically manipulates multiple Walkmans with electronics in his performances.

Alongside a distinguished solo career, Alan Licht has worked with a veritable who’s who of the experimental world, from free jazz legends (Rashied Ali, Derek Bailey) and electronic wizards (Fennesz, Jim O’Rourke) to turntable masters (DJ Spooky, Christian Marclay) and veteran Downtown New York composers (John Zorn, Rhys Chatham). Licht was also curator at the famed New York experimental music venue Tonic from 2000 until its closing in 2007, and has written extensively about the arts for a number of piblications including the WIRE, Modern Painters, and Village Voice. His book, Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Media, was published by Rizzoli in 2007.

Michael Snow needs little introduction. Aside from making the seminal experimental films Wavelenght (1967) and La Région Central (1971), amongst others, he is also an established artist working in painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography, holography, drawing, and books. Originally a trained jazz musician, Snow has released a number of albums since the 70s, the most recent one together with Alan Licht and Aki Onda, Five A’s, Two C’s, One D, One E, Two H’s, Three I’s, One K, Three L’s, One M, Three N’s, One S, One T, One W (2008).


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