With a Mind of Its Own
Established in Japan in
the spring of 1988, the MA label continues to issue provocatively
creative musical statements in strictly acoustic settings.
While presenting mostly
original music with elements of improvisation, structure, and traditional
touchstones, the label is also "traveling" to lesser known areas such as Southern
Siberia and Macedonia for some slightly different musical moments.
the recordings are produced with only two omni-directional microphones, the
signals of which are "fed" through exotic audio cabling into handmade and
customized recording equipment, designed specifically for MA .
The MA website brings
the newcomer "into the fold" and the enthusiast up to date, and also lists
a few of the projects that are to be released in the future. Additionally,
the new Series Momentum sub-label is introduced, presenting recordings not
necessarily produced by MA, but which are never the less of musical integrity
and deserve to be made available to the public.
MA Recordings Philosophy
Quite often, I lapse
into modes in which I wonder why some of us insist on having music in our
lives. The phenomenon of melodic sounds having a strong emotional impact on
the human psyche is rather amazing when one considers the countless number
of creatures on this planet that don't really seem to care. For thousands
of years, human beings have been creating what have become known as musical
instruments and striking, strumming, bowing and blowing on or through them
in such a way as to create sonic waves that, for reasons about which whole
books are written, are found to be pleasant, useful and sometimes absolutely
necessary. Throughout the history of so called "Art Music," although some
of these sounds or combinations thereof have not always been unanimously considered
pleasant, their creators have endured and proceeded with their development,
leading the way to the establishment of new "musical" frontiers.
The reason I am wasting
all this ink is that, first of all, I believe it is healthy for those of us
who do find music to be of value in our lives to think about why that just might
be, and second, to contemplate upon the fact that a single sound and its quality,
can have as much importance as a complete melody. For, without the initial quality
of sound, the material really means a lot less. Creative musicians have always
been aware of this and I think the listener will also find this to be of significance
on all recorded performances presented on the MA Recordings label. Since
the outset, the importance of a solitary sound - its musicality and sound quality
- has been one of the primary reasons for our existence.
In order to maintain the
quality of sound, all MA Recordings are produced in large, acoustically
significant environments such as classical concert halls, churches and galleries.
The importance of these environments cannot be overemphasized, as these spaces
can only be considered as one of the co-creators of the recordings produced
in them. The sounds created in a given space could simply not have been perceived
is MA ?
"MA" is one of several Japanese pronunciations
of the Chinese character :
which means "space" or
"interval". It is a combination of two characters,
which means gate and may
be pronounced "mon" and
which basically means
"sun" and alone is phonetically pronounced "hi".
Actually, as with many Chinese characters,
has been simplified and
transformed to suit the perceived needs of modernization.
Previously, the character was a combination of
which means "moon" and
thus looked like this:
It was originally meant
to signify the beauty of
the moonlight shining through an open gate.
An open gate implies that there is "space" between
two vertical structures which together constitute a gate.
Obviously, without the
space, the moonlight could not shine through,
without the moonlight, the space would take on less significance.
One cannot "be" without the other.
This simple and profound
symbolism can perhaps offer some insight into
the many emotional qualities of the music on the MA