Lethe: Catastrophe Point 7 & 8


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CD 1: Catastrophe Point #7
Sound materials recorded at Arsenic in Lausanne, Switzerland.
CD 2: Catastrophe Point #8
Sound materials recorded at a former power station in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Liner notes by Giancarlo Toniutti.
“Kuwayama Kiyoharu is the man behind Lethe. Under his own name he works within the field of improvised music, playing cello and electronics, in a duo called Kuwayama-Kijima  and as Lethe he creates music that deals with large spaces with lots of natural reverberation, such as abandoned warehouses, Shinto temples, mausoleums and factories. These works are called ‘catastrophe point’ and on this double CD we find two of them. one (from 2004) was recorded at Arsenic in Lausanne, Switzerland and the other at an ex-power station in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2006. Inside such spaces, Kuwayama goes about to record the empty space, picking up large reverberations with the tiniest of sound information. Found metal is being scraped, hit and dragged across the floor. Now that may seem like a ‘heavy’ thing, but if you listen to these pieces, there is a great sense of ’emptiness’ in these recordings. It stays far away, like being removed far away from the microphone(s). I suspect he picks up his ‘action’ with various microphones and then mixes these together when it comes to releasing such works. Its hard to say (and no doubt not really necessary) what this is, this music of Lethe. Ambient? Perhaps, but not as we commonly know it. Experimental? Surely. Action music, performance art? No doubt that’s true as well. You could wonder why two discs. There are some interesting differences between both works. The Scotland work is very sparse: an empty space, a few sounds (in all three tracks). The Switzerland piece has some sort of drone/alarm/buzz going on, with lots of more activity. Towards the end of the first part, the space around is removed and we have a very clear picture of all sorts of acoustic activity going on. In the second part a ‘clear’ piano  pops up. Maybe we have to keep the time frame in mind: in 2004 Lethe was perhaps more focused on ‘music’ in a big space, whereas in 2006 he was more interested in the space itself. I am not entirely sure. Of the two, ‘Catastrophe #7’ would count as the more musical one, whereas ‘Catastrophe #8’ would count as a piece of sound art. For either drone lovers, improvised music fans and art goers, there is something for everyone in this quite unique sound world of Lethe.”  (Frans de Waard – Vital Weekly)

Additional information

Recording Label

Invisible Birds

Catalog Number



CD x 2