SIAN - Setting/Another [Iris Light - 2016]In their ongoing campaign of re-releasing hard to find and out of print AUBE albums, Iris Light have done their best to keep the public (well, the noise listening public, at least) reminded of the brilliance of Akifumi Nakajima. As a surprise to AUBE fans, Iris Light has released Nakajima's SIAN project. Recently discovered after nineteen years, Setting/Another shows AUBE's more restrained side. Still harnessing all the creativity and wonderful experimentalism he was known for, SIAN's Setting/Another will be a welcome release for fans of AUBE's catalog.
Consisting of three, long-form tracks, Setting/Another is a light journey though electronics led by Nakajima and his synths. AUBE had made a career out of using interesting and non-traditional source material, so for fans expecting something along those lines, they should look elsewhere. That's not to say, though, that the ~55 minute run time is not interesting. Drifting, spacey reverb and light, shimmering delays add a very ethereal quality to the artificial tones presented. Long, drawn out reverberations ebb and flow like a sort of metallic smoke on an equally alien sky. While airborne, somewhat contemplative notes repeat in the distance before squiggly phasers streak into view. Returning from the ether, watery chimes loop and draw the listener in like a siren and her gorgeous call. Safely tied to the mast, the listener is able to experience the full scope of this rising, falling, hypnotic action. The notes pass the zero line and are soon under the surface, low, and resonant, before cresting again and heading for the skies. Air and water are both very fluid, and this amorphous quality disappears at the beginning of "Setting II." Crunching like an insect next, the quick oscillations stand in quiet a contrast from the preceding forty minutes. Long, low, pained tones extend this synthy exercise before "Setting II" joins the previous tracks in ethereal bliss.
Light, airy, and unexpected, Akifumi Nakajima's SIAN project finally sees the (iris) light of day after being lost for nineteen years. While playing a more traditional role wasn't always Nakajima's game, he shows that he was truly a talent and could handle any kind of music he wanted. Although different from the rest of AUBE's catalog, Setting/Another is a lovely addition and another testament to Nakajima's ability.Paul Casey