Science has proven that water can recall the substances dissolved in it. And since we are 60% water and the stuff covers 70% of our home, we are all pretty much dissolved. Like the stone tapes that would hold history`s ghosts prisoner, the recycling liquid has witnessed and recorded every movement. From the Big Bang to now. This is the concept behind the compositions on Suso Saiz` Rainworks.
I first became aware of the idea of water as an “eternal being”, moving between Earth and Heavens and back again, a few years ago. I was working with Goh Shigetomi on a book collecting his art. Shigetomi-san is a master, of some 40 years practice, of the technique of Ryu-Sui-Zo. This is the capture of black ink (sumi) from running water with rice paper (washi). Shigetomi-san had his life transformed when he obtained the impression of a Shinto Water God from a mountain stream. Monks at the Kiyomizudera temple, in Kyoto, recognised the image as a holy artefact, and have enshrined it there. Shigetomi-san told me that water is “The visible flow of change. The shape of time. Upon which our small boats must travel.”
The sleeve for Rainworks, by Noncollective`s David McFarline, appears to be an example of Ryu-Sui-Zo. The music alternates between Classical and Post-Rock tropes. Summoning images of water in its various states. Samples it as the titular rain, hammering hard against your window. As the surf of a treasured holiday. As the raging seas that sometimes obscure horizons. It is the sound of water falling from a forest leaf. Or from a stalactite. Unobserved in lonely echo. It creates an atmosphere underground and claustrophobic from the scratching and scraping of taut steel strings. Amplified into the infinite. Escaping like steam on New York City streets. It is fat, white flakes of snow. Upturned collars pulled tight against the cold. Footsteps trailing backwards. Forwards pure, driven, virgin and new. Near subliminal circular guitar joining piano. Dancing to a rhythm like busy fingers on typewriter keys.
It`s epic. Like Mark McGuire`s A Matter Of Time. Dave Pajo`s Papa M. Reich and Metheny counterpoint building to a Niagara of noise and interference. Rising like an overwhelming hollow ache. Dissipating with resignation. Before tears. As beautiful as Gigi Masin`s poem to a Venice drowning. It is a morning shower. Waking to a metropolitan buzz of radio chatter, TV, and news broadcasts. A storm of swells of increasing intensity. Subsiding and fading. Disappearing into the tides. It is distant thunder and glitched Morse. Elements in fragile balance. Orbiting one another. Aligning in moments of harmony.