Moneda presents for its fourth release, Fortuna Redux by Hadjilyra.
This is a record about setting out to “find” Kobo Abe in Japan and becoming one of his characters along the way by following Abe's literary device: you become what you set out to quest.
For his Moneda debut, label founder Emiddio Vasquez, utilizes his Cypriot surname, Hadjilyra, which serves as a staging for his own pilgrimage quest: traditionally, "Hadji" or "Hajj" was the name given to anyone who has completed a pilgrimage to either the Mecca or the Holy Land, and "lyra" is the name of the Cypriot currency before the change to euro. All this in an elaborate self-referential attempt to somehow distance this work from being just a self-release. As such, Fortuna Redux is a record about failed translations. Imagine if the characters in ‘Lost in Translation’ were to hold Google's auto-translate camera app, constantly aiming and updating translation of its gaze. Through a sonic mise-en-scene from the far east where translation is lost-minus the academic smirk- the work zooms and focuses on desire, excess and excess.
It is a work about translations, transcriptions or even “reductions” as they are understood in composition and orchestral arrangements, only in our case the orchestra is empty (karaoke). For this, Hadjilyra discerns MIDI (an electronic music instrument communication protocol originating in Japan) as a mediator of desire that communicates between disparate places: karaoke bars, TV singing contests, black MIDI Youtube videos, malls muzak, G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), Shinto/technophilia, pachinkos/casinos. These places foster excesses and repetition, which is also the paradox in the word “redux”: to both reduce and to repeat, at the same time, and to assert after the act.
At times gestural, the sound material is based on imperfect field recordings performed in June 2019 during the monsoon period: from artificial bird recordings in train stations that help blind people navigate to the exit, to Shibuya’s chaotic pachinkos all the way to the rivers and crickets in Wakayama Prefecture. These recordings function more as the gestures of an invisible hand’s dice-throw that shapeshift its environments.
After failing at acquiring a Yamaha QY-70 in order to make an album on the road, the work was compromised and instead was “programmed” on a Wotja Pro app, a text-to-music generative music phone app and a version of which was famously used by Brian Eno in 1996 Generative Music 1, which also coined the term. With the capacity of exporting MIDI, this allowed for notes to be “transcribed” onto other instruments, i.e. a Yamaha QY-70, also known as a ROM (read-only memory) player, and then navigating through kitsch preset sounds until achieving the desired form. This is how the second track was done, titled Palazzo 3.0, which finds Hadjilyra in the final minutes gambling with sound in Las Vegas’ The Palazzo, hence the title. Throughout the album, there are all sorts of compromises between intention and delivery, which end up framing questions concerning authorship, autership and authority. The album concludes with Latin Spirit, in which we find Hadjilyra alone, with a voice-to-MIDI instrument singing karaoke along a Latin standard music composition and filling in for the missing orchestra.
Overall, in the album Hadjilyra avoids sophisticated tools, and instead tries to sophisticate the tools and sounds used. He opens up to pre-set sounds and pre-made compositions and tries to claim ownership while tiptoeing through and across the litigious mesh of ownership. Following a commissioned essay titled Kobo Abe Redux, an exhibition-specific performance titled G.A.S. Redux, Fortuna Redux is the third reduction, which also speaks of the Roman goddess who oversaw the return of a traveler. Thus, reflecting Hadjilyra's own return back home until it’s time to leave again.
released April 1, 2021
Performed and produced by Emiddio Vasquez
Mastered by Jack Callahan
Artwork by Emiddio Vasquez
Special thank you to Alexandros K. Kyriakides for the inspiration, kumano kodo advice and invitation to contribute to his work, commissioning the essay and Korai for hosting the performance. For more info on that: emiddiovasquez.info/G-A-S-Redux
List of instruments used:
Wotja Pro Android app, Tascam DR-40, Yamaha QY-70, Juno 60, Breakaway Vocalizer 1000, lips for trumpet, flicking cheeks for drums, shaker, cheesegrater.