At this time last year, Yoshinori Hayashi had released one record (at least under this name) and it became an instant classic of WTF. The End of the Edge was kind of a triumph of wry humor and psychedelic grooves (or maybe it was wry grooves and psychedelic humor?) The songs on The End of the Edge weren’t so much “songs” as much as fragments that were gradually drawn out and distorted and zigged when years of dedicated listening to electronic music gave you every reason to believe it would zag. By the end of the record, you weren’t entirely sure what you just heard but wanted to play it again.
The End of the Edge was immediately sold out on vinyl and now fetches “collector’s prices.” Hayashi’s second EP, The Forgetting Curve, is following the same course. To call it “abstract” or “experimental” doesn’t really do it justice. It’s “abstract” and “experimental” by the already mindmelting standard of The End of the Edge; at this point its “abstractness” probably needs to be represented by exponents.
“Matter” seems to lack it: in a departure from the slow, distorted, wavering but at least somewhat grounding groove of “Geckos,” the lead on The Forgetting Curve is a meandering shock of sounds pouring through the speakers like an orchestra made up of various windows opening and closing on a busy street rather than instruments. “Waterwheel” makes up for it in percussion – like a loose shutter slamming against the siding. “Matter” and “Waterwheel” and the third track on Side A, “Playing,” have no gaps between them and are meant to be played all the way through. And it’s with “Playing” that the whole thing starts to come back into focus again: the most discordant sounds yet eventually melt into a solid groove delivered by a broken drum set and an upright bass with loose strings. It’s almost like DJ Shadow covered by a live acid jazz band.
The entire B side is made up of “Waterwheel Scenery,” a remix by Dj Sotofett and featuring Osaruxo on an extended violin. If Side A makes for an incredibly listening experience, this one is more suitable for DJing. Like Side A, however, small fragments of this lodge themselves stubbornly in my head and I can’t quite yank them out. I’m aware this doesn’t make a lot of sense. I don’t think it’s supposed to.