Review | By Richard Allen / a closer listen
Shizugawa | Andrew Littlejohn
This resonant recording scores the aftermath of one disaster, but by extension speaks to those caught in the midst of another. Recorded in the flattened town of Shizugawa following the devastating tsunami of March 2011, Andrew Littlejohn‘s study traces what was lost, and what arrived in its place. The survivors dig through the rubble, unearthing recent artifacts of suddenly vanished lives. They no longer hear pedestrians, commerce, children at play. The wildlife seems louder, as its competition is gone. The wind and waves are now a constant part of the audible soundscape, no longer soothing but lurking; what once seemed benign became a bearer of death. According to Littlejohn, “two Shizugawas overlapped: one of memory and one emerging.” The only constant, present before and after the tsunami, is the quartet of locally-composed songs on the emergency broadcast system, sounding at 6, 12, 5 and 9, and all heard on this recording. Endō Miki died sending a final warning, as did Satō Yoshio, the composer of the noon song. []