Music For Modified Melodica is revelatory. While melodica has long been a favorite instrument of mine, Kaori Suzuki has unlocked something entirely new. Using a modified instrument that makes it playable by foot pumps allows her to create continual, expansive drones without pause. Singular, sustained notes open and subtly shift in dizzying shapes on “Air Born of Light,” overwhelming the senses in unexpected ways. Suzuki recommends the music be listened to at high volume and when doing so, once it ends I feel like I’m stepping back onto land after hours at sea.
Using the foot pump, Suzuki can push huge amounts of air through the melodica’s reeds and the heavy vibrations expand the sonic palette, allowing new tones to appear. It’s this boundless energy that gives the music such a physical presence. She layers various oscillators and delays in the mix to further inflate the massive feel of “Air Born of Light.” This physicality is overbearing and almost unbearable, but pushing forward it envelops my body entirely, leading to some kind of abstract transcendence.
Suzuki’s background in experimental electronic music and instrument building (I’m still kicking myself for never buying a Magic Echo Music PALette, but I digress) is the right combination of talent and skill to push the boundaries of the melodica well beyond anything imaginable. Music For Modified Melodica takes a maximalist approach to find new ground and in the process becomes a whole-body experience.