MIKI YUI-DUAL (HOLLOW).
Miki Yui-Dual (Hollow).
Label: Soft Error.
For the best part of fifty years, Scotland has had a vibrant music scene, that has produced many successful artists and bands. They’ve enjoyed success both at home, and abroad. However, to make a breakthrough, many artists and bands had to move to London, which was where the major labels and top recording studios were based. Thankfully, these days are long gone, and Scottish artists and bands no longer need to head south of the border.
Nowadays, Scotland has a thriving music industry, and is home to many well equipped recording studios and record labels. That has been the case since Postcard Records was founded by Alan Horne in 1979. Since then, many other record labels have been founded in Scotland, including Chemikal Underground and Rock Action. These labels are based in Glasgow, where much of the Scottish music industry is situated. The rest of the Scottish music industry is situated in major cities like Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. That is starting to change.
Recently, filmmaker and sound artists Mark Lyken founded a new label Soft Error, in Dumfries and Galloway, in the South West of Scotland. Mark Lyken say Soft Error specialises in: “small editions of sound art, field recording, drone, sound collage, tape music and unruly electronics.” These limited edition albums are curated by Mark Lyken and are currently released on cassettes, featuring original photography by artist and filmmaker Emma Dove. Her photography is: “created in response to the audio works,” and can be found on Miki Yui’s live album Dual (Hollow), which was recently released by Soft Error. Dual (Hollow) features excerpts from a concert in Düsseldorf in October 2016, and is the first live album that Miki Yui has released during her long career.
Miki Yui was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1971, and when she was growing up, her artistic side began to blossom. Upon leaving high school in 1990, it was no surprise that Miki Yui enrolled at Tokyo’s prestigious Tama Art University. Four years later, Miki Yui graduated as a Bachelor of Art. This was just the start of Miki Yui’s academic and indeed, artistic career.
In 1995, Miki Yui left Japan, and moved to Düsseldorf, in Germany, which twenty-two years later, is still her home. When Miki Yui first arrived in Düsseldorf, it was to study Video Art at Kunstakademie. For the next two years, Miki Yui studied under the Dutch-American artist, Professor Nan Hoover, who was one of the pioneers of video art. When Miki Yui’s course ended in 1997, Miki Yui’s academic career continued.
Later in 1997, Miki Yui enrolled at the Academy of Media Arts, in Cologne, Germany, and for the next five years, studied media art and audio-visual. By then, Miki Yui’s career was well underway.
Miki Yui’s career began in earnest in 1998. That was when the twenty-seven year old began: “working in the field of fine art and music.” Little did she realise that this was the start of a globe-trotting career where Miki Yui would forge a successful and critically acclaimed career: “in the fields of music, drawing, installation and performance.” Despite her versatility artistically, it would be music that would introduce Miki Yui to a wider audience.
A year after her career began, Miki Yui released her debut album, Small Sounds in 1999. It was released on the short-lived Bmb Lab label. Small Sounds was an album of carefully sculpted, delicate and minimalist soundscapes. This would become Miki Yui’s trademark sound.
She recently describes her music as: “sonic landscapes emerging out of delicate noises, samples, electronic sounds, and field recordings.” This had proven popular when Miki Yui released Small Sound 1999, and would continue to prove popular throughout her career. So would the music Miki Yui recorded and released with one of Germany’s top musicians.
The Origins Of Japandorf.
As the new millennia dawned, Miki Yui who was based in Düsseldorf, met one of Klaus Dinger in 2000, who during the seventies, was one of the leading lights of the Krautrock scene. Klaus Dinger had been a member of Kraftwerk, and went on to cofound Neu! and later, La Düsseldorf. He was also responsible for his trademark “Dinger beat, which has influenced several generations of drummers. Little did Miki Yui and Klaus Dinger know that that initial meeting in 2000, was the start of an eight year relationship.
Not only did Miki Yui and Klaus Dinger live together, but they eventually played in Japandorf together. That was still to come. Before that, Miki Yui’s solo career continued apace.
Lupe Luep Peul Epul.
Two years after the release of her debut album Small Sounds, Miki You returned with her much-anticipated sophomore album, Lupe Luep Peul Epul. It was released in March 2001, as a limited edition of 500, on the Line imprint. Just like Small Sounds, Lupe Luep Peul Epul was an album of minimalist soundscapes where Elements of ambient, abstract and experimental music were combined by Miki Yui. The result was a captivating and critically acclaimed album from Miki Yui, who was already regarded as one of the rising stars of experimental music. This however, was just one part of the Miki Yui story.
By 2001, there was much more to Miki Yui’s career than music. Her career revolved around: “fine arts and works in the fields of music, drawing, installation and performance.” She had managed to successfully combine and cultivate several different careers since 1998. In doing so, Miki Yui was well on her way to becoming a successful, highly respected and award-winning artist.
Another two years passed before Miki Yui returned with her third solo album, Silence Resounding in July 2003. By then, Miki Yui was still successfully juggling the different parts of career. As a result, the name Miki Yui meant different things to different people. To some, she was an artist, while others knew Miki Yui for her sound installations. Music lovers knew Miki Yui for her ability to create captivating and enchanting albums.
This included Silence Resounding, which was released in July 2003, on the Line imprint as a limited edition of 500. Again, the album featured Miki Yui’s trademark soundscapes. They had been carefully and lovingly honed by Miki Yui, who continued to fuse elements of ambient, abstract and experimental music to create Silence Resounding. These soundscapes caught the imagination of critics and music fans. Silence Resounding they believed, was Miki Yui’s finest moment.
Small Sounds Meet Small Music.
Just a year after the release of her third album, Miki Yui released the first collaboration of her musical career. This was Small Sounds Meet Small Music, which was a collaboration with the late Rolf Julius.
He was a talented and innovative sound and visual artist, sadly, passed away in 2011. Rolf Julius is best known for his installations and sound works. They focused on what John Cage called “small music,” sounds so subtle that they’re hardly audible. The influence of small music was omnipresent throughout Miki Yui and Rolf Julius’ collaboration.
Small Sounds Meet Small Music was a recording of a concert that took place in Torino, Italy on the ‘16th’ of April 2005. It showcased the considerable skills of two talented and innovative musicians and artists. The fruits of their labour was released on the Italian E/Static label later in 2005, as Small Sounds Meet Small Music. Just like her previous albums, Small Sounds Meet Small Music won over critics. Despite her star being in the ascendancy, Small Sounds Meet Small Music was the last album Miki Yui released until 2010.
Miki Yui’s Japandorf Years Part One.
After the release of Small Sounds Meet Small Music, Miki Yui rejoined Japandorf. Over the next few years, its lineup began to take shape.
By 2005, Japandorf’s lineup featured Klaus Dinger and Miki Yui, who had been joined by the Japanese artist Masaki Nakao; keyboardist Satoshi Okamoto, who previously had worked with various J-Pop groups and Kazuyuki Onouchi. While Japandorf were already a popular live draw, their recording career wasn’t going to plan.
Japandorf had already recorded two albums by 2007. When the albums were completed, they were shopped to various record labels. The problem was, none of the labels were interested in releasing either of the Japandorf albums. Despite this, Japandorf headed into the studio again later in 2007.
Recording sessions took place throughout the rest of 2007, and into the spring of 2008. By then, Japandorf had more than enough material for a new album. Sadly, tragedy struck on Good Friday. Klaus Dinger passed away on the ‘21st’ March 2008. He was just three days short of his sixty-second birthday. German music had lost one of its most talented sons, and Miki Yui lost her partner of eight years.
The death of Klaus Dinger looked like the end of the Japandorf story. That wasn’t the case, and the album that Japandorf had been recording would be posthumously released. Before that, Miki Yui would release her long-awaited fourth album, Magina.
By then, seven years had passed since the release of Miki Yui’s third solo album, Silence Resounding. Since then, she had released her collaboration with Rolf Jukius, Small Sounds Meet Small Music in 2005, worked with Japandorf, and worked and on a variety of non-musical projects. Eventually, though, Miki Yui found time to complete recording of Magina.
The eleven soundscapes that eventually became Magima had been recorded at the Dingerland-Lilienthal Studio between 2001 and 2010. These soundscapes become Magina, which was released on the Japanese label Hören in December 2010.
Magina was another captivating album of timeless music from Miki Yui, who had fused elements of abstract, avant-garde and ambient music. This resulted in what another critically acclaimed album from Miki Yui after seven years away. Little did critics know, that it would be another six years before she returned with her next solo album. Before that, she returned to the Japandorf project.
Klaus Dinger and Japandorf.
After the death of Klaus Dinger, the album that Japandorf had been working on lay unreleased. Eventually, Miki Yui, who was tasked with curating Klaus Dinger’s musical legacy, began thinking about releasing the album. This must have been painful emotionally. Despite this, Miki Yui was determined to that Japandorf would be released, and that it would be a fitting tribute to her late partner. Little did Miki Yui realise that how problematic the Japandorf would prove.
Originally, Klaus Dinger had envisaged releasing Japandorf as a La Düsseldorf album. The only problem was that Hans Lampe, whom had been Klaus Dinger’s partner in La Düsseldorf, hadn’t played on the album. Despite this, the album was scheduled to be released under the La Düsseldorf name. However, as the release of Japandorf drew closer, Hans Lampe decided to block the release. For Miki Yui, it was a case of back to the drawing board.
Instead, Miki Yui decided that the album should be released as Klaus Dinger and Japandorf, and eventually, it was released om Grönland Records in April 2013. Critical acclaim accompanied the release of Klaus Dinger and Japandorf, which most critics hailed the album a fitting swan-song to Klaus Dinger’s long and illustrious career.
With Klaus Dinger and Japandorf now released, Miki Yui’s thoughts turned to other aspects of her career. This eventually included her fourth solo album, Oscilla.
This was the long-awaited and much-anticipated followup to Magina, which had been released in 2010. Since then, Miki Yui had spent time ensuring the Klaus Dinger and Japandorf album was released, and had also focused on other parts of her burgeoning career.
Miki Yui was now a successful and highly respected artist. Her music, drawings, installations and performances attracted a global audience. Especially,across Europe and Asia, where Miki Yui’s work had found a wide and appreciative audience. Despite that, she found time to begin work on what became Oscilla.
Eventually, Miki Yui had written and recorded eleven captivating, enchanting and cinematic soundscapes. These soundscapes became Oscilla, which was released on Miki Yui’s new label MY in October 2015.
Critics discovered that Miki Yui had fused field recordings with delicate noises, electronic sounds, samples and analog synths. They played their part in an album of cinematic soundscapes that were guaranteed to set the listener’s imagination racing, as Miki Yui combined elements of ambient, avant-garde and Berlin School, with experimental and small music. The result was Oscilla, which featured Miki Yui at her most inventive on what critics hailed as the finest album of Miki Yui’s career.
Realistic Monk (Carl Stone and Miki Yui)-5.3.17.
After the release of Oscilla, nothing was heard of Miki Yui until earlier this year, when she released the second collaboration of her career. This time, Miki Yui had collaborated with American composer Carl Stone, who specialises in the field of live electronic music. They recorded an album together as Realistic Monk, and 5.3.17 was released in the spring of 2017.
When 5.3.17 was released, critics discovered an album that was a fusion of experimental and abstract music. It was also thoroughly modern and innovative album ‘21st’ Century album. The music on 5.3.17 was made using Carl Stone’s computer and Miki Yui’s samplers. However, the result was another ambitious and captivating album from two of musical pioneers.
Just four months after the release of 5.3.17, Miki Yui returned with her first live album Dual (Hollow) on July ‘24th’ 2017. This was the fifth album of Miki Yui’s career, and Dual (Hollow) was released on the Soft Error label, which is based in Dumfries and Galloway, in the South West of Scotland. For founder Mark Lyken, the opportunity to release an album of Miki Yui’s music was something of a coup for his new label.
When Dual (Hollow) was released, it featured the SE 03 catalogue number, and was a limited edition of just fifty cassettes. This is perfect timing, as recently, there’s been a resurgence of interest in cassettes. It’s a case of never mind the vinyl, here comes the cassettes. For those that don’t have a cassette deck, Dual (Hollow) is album is also available as a digital download. This means that everyone has the chance to discover Miki Yui’s first like album Dual (Hollow).
Dual Hollow features excerpts from one of the Miki Yui’s concerts, in her adopted home city of Düsseldorf. That night, Miki Yui took to the stage with her samplers and solar oscillators and showcased a number of her compositions. This included the two lengthy soundscapes that feature on Dual (Hollow).
The first soundscape on Dual (Hollow) is Two To One, a near twenty minute epic that features on side one of the album. Then on side two, is another twenty minute opus One To Two. Both soundscapes find Miki Yui taking the listener on an enthralling sonic adventure.
During the sonic adventure that is Two To One, the music on veers between understated and atmospheric to cinematic and chilling as Miki Yui deploys her trusty samples and solar oscillators. Samples emerge from the soundscape as it gradually reveals it sonic secrets. It’s a case of the closer one listens, the more of its secrets Two To One reveals. Sometimes, the music is futuristic and otherworldly, as sci-fi sounds emerge. Soon, the soundscape becomes understated and minimalist as Miki Yui draws inspiration from small music. In the distance, samples of chatter can be heard and one can eavesdrop as this journey continues. Samples of a steam train are added, adding to the feeling of being on a journey. The sound of someone singing, children chattering and a myriad of found sounds are added as the minimalist sound dissipates. Suddenly, it’s a very different soundscape as it continues to evolve, bubbling, cracking, squeaking and droning adding a ruminative and sometimes, menacing sound. Always though, this innovative and cinematic soundscape has the capacity to captivate and set one’s imagination racing.
Flip over to side two and press play, and gradually the understated, dark and almost menacing sound of One To Two begins to reveal its cinematic sound. It’s panned and drones, growing in power, as washes of this dramatic and atmospheric soundscape assails the listener. This proves powerful, chilling and is guaranteed to enthral. The listener is left to provide their own script as wave upon wave of music continue to assail them. Later,the music becomes futuristic, dramatic and mesmeric as beeps escape from soundscape.They add a hypnotic backdrop as rumbling, bubbling and scampering sounds escape from soundscape. Latterly, what sounds like water can be heard in the soundscape, as it bubbles, before beeps, drones, melodic and menacing sound are emitted before this musical voyage draws to a close. It features Miki Yui at her most inventive and imaginative as she creates the second soundtrack to film that has to be made.
The two epic soundscapes on Dual (Hollow) feature Miki Yui at their most inventive and innovative as she takes the listeners on a musical voyage of discover. During this journey, Miki Yui throws curveballs and springs surprises aplenty during these captivating cinematic soundscapes. Even by the end of Two To One, the listener realises that they can never second guess Miki Yui.
She paints pictures using a myriad of samples, field recordings and found sounds. They’re her musical palette, which she puts to good use, throughout Dual (Hollow). It features one of the leading lights of experimental music as they create music that is
dark, broody and moody, and other times, is melodic and Sometimes, it’s chilling, eerie and unsettling, other times, is understated and minimalist. Always, though, the music on Dual (Hollow) captivates and is innovative and inventive, as Miki Yui combines disparate musical genres.
These two genre-melting soundscapes find Miki Yui flitting between and fusing elements of avant-garde, drone, electronic and experimental music and Musique concrète. Miki Yui also draws inspiration from the pioneers of the Berlin and Düsseldorf schools of electronic music, improv and incorporates elements of what John Cage called “small music”during these two ambitious and captivating cinematic soundscapes. They were recorded live, which makes the quality of the music on Dual (Hollow) all the more remarkable.
The recently released Dual (Hollow) is the first live album from the multitalented Miki Yui, and is without doubt, one of the finest albums of her near twenty year career. Dual (Hollow) is also the first album that Miki Yui has released on Mark Lyken’s new label Soft Error, which is based in Dumfries and Galloway, in the South West of Scotland. Hopefully, Soft Error will release many more albums of the quality of Miki Yui’s Dual (Hollow), which features a sonic pioneer at the peak of powers.
Miki Yui-Dual (Hollow).