Exposé Online banner

Chas Smith — Nakadai
(Cold Blue CB0029, 2008/1987, CD)

by K. Leimer, Published 2009-07-01

Nakadai Cover artFor lack of a better term, let’s say that when we produce or listen to sounds that an instrument was not principally designed to generate, we are playing or hearing “beyond the instrument.” Give it to Bartók and his slap, Cage and his prepared piano, Frith and his alligator clipped strings: what was once a marginal aspect of expressive notation has steadily become an expected component of new and experimental musics, now grown broad enough to embrace signal processing, sampling and pretty much any manipulation – physical or post-production – of pretty much any source. Smith’s Nakadai, a reissue from the 1980s, performs well beyond the instrument and after some quarter century the work shows no signs of wear. While any variety of drone-oriented music was available during that decade and well before, Smith accomplishes his pieces with pedal steel guitar and percussion, specifically percussion rid of its usually abrupt envelopes. As such, being sourced electro-mechanically and acoustically rather than electronically, the five pieces – which string together in a suite-like seamlessness – possess a rich timbral depth and harmonic complexity that was very different from the purely synthetic works of that decade. Smith offers glimpses of suspended and active states, moments that might infer Ligeti at one turn or the long and pitch-shifted sustains of Fripp at another. Beautiful stuff, shorn of prettiness and decoration to reach an absolute sound of almost continuous invention.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 37, 1987 releases, 2008 recordings

Related artist(s): Chas Smith

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sarcasme - Mirage – Maybe I'm just a little dense, but I'm not sure how a band that's been around for 12 years can be called young and new, even if this is their first release. That being said, I will admit that the...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues