Mattin & Taku Unami

released with hibari music (Japan)

h.m.o/r 01 cd

Shyrio No Computer

drawings by Tomoya Izumi


These two musicians question the whole aesthetic of contemporary digital
music: The desire to upgrade software and hardware, program virtuosity, and
strive for a better quality of sound... They play with the marginality of
the music, transgressing the cliches of digital gigs. Take Unami playing
with the surface of a speaker which vibrates inaudibly with
computer-generated frequencies. Or Mattin's use of self-generated
They have come up with the concept of 'zombie computer music': An attempt to
"kill our computer sound as much as possible". They seek to break open the
grave of digital music and re-animate the corpse. But rather than give it a
healthy and hygenic new life, they wish for it to have characteristics of
the living dead: A sound that is "endlessly committing suicide in the world
of digital ferocity."


Mattin, Xabier Erkizia & Taku. Arteleku, Donosti  8th october 2004 
picture by Oier


Consider one of the best cds of the year of 2004 by
Otomo Yoshihide, Toshiya Tsunoda & Yosio Otani.

The Wire
Issue 258, August 2005

Haused in a cover featuring drawings that recall outsider artist Henry Darger, Shiryo No Computer produce a blast of fetid air from a rusted machine that has suddenly been reactivated. Featuring Mattin on computer feedback and Tomoya Izumi on computer and objects, their self-titled opus shifts from near silence, fretful scuffling and scratching about in the dust, to a full on blast of ventilator fan rumble that jerks into action when you least expect it.  Although the bulk of ideas collected here sound somewhat dated when stacked up against the mountain of  electronic glitch examples already available, Shiryo No Computer reveal a cunning element of surprise that puts them near the top of the heap. Edwin Pouncey

Improvised Music from Japan

When Taku Unami produced Mattin's Japan tour of February '04, they recorded a duo album
that includes, on the one hand, several minutes' silence and, on the other, frequent violent explosions comparable to the harshest noise music. Unami once mentioned the pioneering Japanese noise unit Hijokaidan as a major musical influece. "If love is colder than death as Fassbinder says, Zombies are warmer than life," writes Unami in his liner notes, which are actually an objection to the general prejudice that "inhuman" computer music is colder than live music-an objection he underlines by likening himself to a zombie, as illustrated on the cover.

number 449
week 47

For those who do not known: Mattin plays computer feedback. Assuming everybody knows what feedback is, computer feedback is the feedback created by connecting the in and output of a computer together. Sometimes the music of Mattin can be really soft and bass like, but in a solo concert it can be really loud. Unami plays computer and objects and he had a CDR on Mattin's label before (see Vital Weekly 407). Unami's solo music was blend of silence and silence. Whenever in duo with somebody, Mattin seems to adjust his playing. Even when there are some heavy type outbursts on this release, the majority of the pieces hoover carefully along the lines of silence and the rumble of electro-acoustic objects. Quite an intense listening experience, which worked out well.

Touching Extremes Jan 2005 (Italy)

MATTIN/TAKU UNAMI - Shiryo no computer (Hibari/w.m.o./r.)

Both men look around with circumspection, precursive of their openness to incidental factors; Mattin and Unami unbalance our conventional scrutiny of taciturn habits with a well equipped depot of muted signals and blistering feedback. Their thick-skinned coolness between petrifying silence and scattered flotsam of spare mechanical gadgetry has the same look of an old neon lamp that's losing its grip: flashing or just slightly flickering, nevertheless it still hypnotizes, giving an aura of decaying straightness to the impurity of a deserted street. In this uncultivated economy of means, the sheer postural noises of our body and the wind that rumbles under the roof become ambassadors for the slow death of routine sonic itineraries. Massimo Ricci

Paris Transatlantic (Jan. 2005)

One of the consequences of listening to lowercase's use of silence is that the ear tunes in to what is normally filtered out as "background"; after a quarter of a century of so-called ambient music, it's now time for ambient noise. Examples include the hum, murmur and rustle of the audience attending Radu Malfatti and Taku Sugimoto's concert at Vienna Rhiz (on the IMJ Futatsu double album), the gallery chitchat from which Mike Bullock's bass emerges on Initial (Chlöe) and the distant train sounds that drift dreamlike through Training Thoughts, released on Mattin's w.m.o/r label last year and featuring him and Yasuo Totsuka on laptops and Sugimoto once more on guitar. That concert was recorded by another local lowercase laptopper, Taku Unami, who also collaborates with Mattin on Shiryo No Computer, jointly released on w.m.o/r and Unami's Hibari imprint. There's enough room in their music for passing traffic and local wildlife (canine), but in keeping with Mattin's oft-quoted enthusiasm for Whitehouse as well as Malfatti, there are a few nasty surprises too. Unlike much of the inputless mixing board feedback of Toshi Nakamura, which consists of gradual permutation of looped material (the conceptual parentage of Steve Reich is clearly audible), the charm of Mattin's computer feedback is its sheer unpredictability, its tendency to explode into noise without warning. This makes listening to his music – as opposed to Unami's, which is almost without exception extremely quiet and sparse – quite a tense experience. Sure, listening to Radu and Taku is tense too, but the concentration is geared towards the how and when as opposed to the what: one knows chances of Sugimoto playing more than one or two notes are pretty slim, and the probability of Malfatti producing an old school FMP-style splatter is, well, ZERO. The tension is a "traditionally musical" one of how musical ideas – often little more than mere isolated pitches – are extended by memory and articulated by silence over a long span of time. The contrast between Futatsu and Whitenoise, Malfatti's album with Mattin, could not be greater. Compared to that album, Shiryo No Computer is something of a disappointment, because it manages to lose both kinds of tension: Unami isn't interested in pitch as a parameter to explore, so the Sugimoto / Malfatti line of enquiry (which ultimately leads back to Cage and Feldman) takes us nowhere. Nor is he given to the bursts of extremism that characterise Mattin's work and link it to sonic extremists such as Junko (check out Pinknoise). Unami's fondness for upturning small loudspeakers and putting small objects in to vibrate – a pocket version of Xavier Charles' surfaces vibrantes – is enthralling when it gets going, but one wishes Tetuzi Akiyama could have sat in and thickened the plot with a little pitch interest. As it is, Shiryo No Computer overstays its welcome by about 20 minutes. Dan Warburton

Autsaider issue 5 (Ukrania)

The nine tracks of this album, 7 min. 6 sec. each, are part of a studio computer improvisation, and one is supposed to take them as a solid 64-minute composition. Mattin toys with computer feedback, audio-out connected to audio-in, while Unami manipulates digital sounds, but does his job so quietly that one can hardly hear anything except for some sonic vibration. Prolonged periods of nearly complete silence are interrupted with explosions of noise and feedback after which everything settles down below the level of hearable. And then silence goes away.

Roman Pishchalov

Дев’ять композицій цього альбому є частинами одної студійної комп’ютерної імпровізації. Всі вони дорівнюють 7 хв. 6 сек. Слухати їх слід як одну велику 64-хвилинну композицію. Маттін грається з комп’ютерним фідбеком (аудіо-вихід комп’ютеру приєднано до входу), а Унамі маніпулює диґитальними звуками, але робить це настільки тихо, що практично нічого, крім якоїсь акустичної вібрації, не чутно. Тривалі періоди тиші перериваються вибухами шуму, фону, потім все знову стихає до рівня на межі чутного людським вухом. А потім зникає і тиша.

Роман Піщалов


As listed playing computer feedback Mattin tricked me
into thinking my PC was freeked when this recording of nine
untitled tracks (each 7:06 in length) began. Taku Unami is
controlling the objects and computer as Shiryo, this duo
plays silently. Not until approximately six minutes in do
you start to hear the barely snoring-like rustle of
something akin to a whicker broom gesturing right and left.
No Computer obviously uses said medium to conduct a course
in silence. Tomoya Izumi’s headless characters make for
playful cover art and act a catalyst for my attention until
suddenly there is a sinus-cavity impeding squeal, like a
vacuum cleaner come unglued in a thumbtack factory. As
unsettling as silence can be, there is something pretty
durable about the micro-goings-on here, like a primer in
patience and attention

No-Medium by Craig Dworkin (2013)

Haco may have taken her inspiration from Basque artist Mattin,
who has been playing the computer in that manner for years,
and Taku Unami may well be doing the same thing on his disc Intransigent
towards the Detectives of Capital (w.m.o/r 2004), though to be honest
I can't really hear what's going on over the noise of my own computer.
On Shyrio (the Shinto term for the spirit of the dead acting on the living),
Mattin and Unami facilitate the studio improvisation between a
speaker cone and the computer feedback that drives it, self-generated with the input
and the output ports of the same machine are connected in
one of Mattin's trademark perverse loops.
The result is like the placid ruble of electric brooks, barely audible inside
a slumbering laptop dreaming of Arcadian runnels. Twigs snap now and then,
there's a rustle in the leaves just beyond the field of vision, from somewhere
a panting picks up, too late the dreamer and the nightmare inextricably meld,
prey and pursuer merge, the pacific pastoral shatters, awakened by outburst of

autophagic choke and failed squelch, the electric
ouroboros gagging in an outraged roar and leaving you shacking with
the unshakeable dream of an inhuman silence we can never attain.
Compare with the earlier Mattin und Unami duet Attention (h.m.o/r, 1997),
on which they turn up the volume on what it means to listen to a CD
in the first place.