This music let you open your mind's door into the subconscious realm.
Yayoi Meests Infortecture:
We had been walking for around 15 minutes in the humid summer heat in an unfamiliar area of Kyoto when we finally arrived.
Passing through corridor after corridor of anonymous doors we at last found the one we were looking for and were bidden by our host to enter.
The small room was crammed with machinery, computers, device racks, instruments and recording devices. There wasn't much room for anything else. No one had been here of some time.
With a genial smile our host, Mr Kawahara welcomed us to Atelier Infortecture.
Hiro Kawahara and his group Heretic are one of the most neglected and underated of 80's Japanese Progressives.
Unlike many of their peers, they were not a cute symphonic rock clone. Their two LP's take as their starting point the prime territory of Euro-Rock: King Crimson, Heldon, Ashra, on which to build their own strangely familair compositions.
Heretic are an example of how the Japanese learn from the West and then attempt to adapt, and if possible, improve it.
Yet after years in limbo the heretical ghost still persists, and has been evolving into something new.
A largely digital form as demonstrated on Heretic's new audio CD/CD-ROM Yayoi Dream.
The audio part contains only one long track, which was originally recorded for a demo CD-R directly to DAT on that August afternoon in 1995 at Atelier Infortecture. Hiro had painstakingly set everything up ready and took on the task of controlling a live set - using MIDI, guitar, synths, modules, etc, like a pilot preparing for take off.
At around 35 minutes, 'Yayoi Dream' is his biggest creative leap. A vast, restless sound tapestry of sampled, ethnic and synthetic components, that evoke, as Peter Thelen, of the American prog journal Expose pointed out, 'open doors into the subconscious realm.'
Each door takes us to a different musical environment; Gamelan-like dreamscapes; forests of near abstract electronic patters; quirky, sparkling interludes reminiscent of Vangelis on Beaubourg or Invisible Connections,
but thanks to excellent percussive and flute samples, and a tight reign on the use automation, manages a to produce a unique Asian perspective to music tech.
The latest version of Yayoi Dream on this CD is more elaborate and impressive than the demo. Stalwart Heretic members include Robbin Lloyd on electric percussion, and Tohru Ohta (of Fromage and Cinema) on bouzouki, whose contributions lend the music an ancient, earthy power that counter balances the high-tech elements. Indeed, Hiro himself said that this composition was inspired by a Silk Road Exhibition in Nara during 1988.
With 'Yayoi Dream', Hiro is breaking free of his progressive rock influences. His term, Infortecture, not only implies building musical structures via info-tech, it also hints at the monolithic size and complexity of these new compositions, while the word 'Yayoi' hints at Japan's remote past before the 10th century where history merges with legend.
New technology brings new opportunities, yet few musicians have the imagination to make the most of it. Hiro Kawahara is, I feel, one of those at the cutting edge exploiting it to the full. But despite all this emphasis on technology in music, it is essential to recall as Hiro says, 'that technology is the tool, not the purpose,' and
that the 'exploration of new sound is dependend on one's creativity, not technology.'
– Nigel Harris 28 August 1996 in CD liner notes.
released August 25, 2023
Heretic - Yayoi Dream (CD:1996)
1 Yayoi Dream 2022 Remaster (36:34)
2 For Peter Frohmader (0:51)
(Total time 37:25 : 1 unreleased track )
Tohru Ohta (syns, bouzouki on 1)
Robbin Lloyd (electric percussion on 1)
Hiro Kawahara (syns, samplers, electronics, devices, computer programming)
Composed and MIDI recorded at Atelier Infortecture between 1990 and 1996.
Mix down : August 1996
Produced by Hiro Kawahara
Remastered by Hiro Kawahara, 2022
Copyright Hiro Kawahara 2023