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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Toshinori Kondo - Silent Melodies (Off, 2007) **½

Japanese trumpeter Toshinori Kondo has quite a track record. He has played fusion, free jazz with Brötzmann (Die Like A Dog, Little Birds Have Fast Hearts), John Zorn, Bill Laswell, and he has had his own rock-band IMA, and he figured in more modern combinations with DJ Krush and others. Overall, he must have made over a hundred recorded performances.

On "Silent Melodies", he moves into a more spiritual atmosphere, playing solo with lots (I mean lots) of electronics. If my information is right, this must be his third solo release, after Touchstone (1993), and Fukyo (2004). He also made a DVD, based on his Blow The Earth Project, of which you can watch a clip below. The music on this album is very comparable to what you can see on the video. Long melancholy pieces, hesitating between real spirituality and new age kitsch, between humility and self-indulgence.

Without a doubt, Toshinori Kondo has great technique, but you need more to be a great artist, such as musical vision and creativity.

In certain moods at certain moments, this music can be of interest, though it tends to get boring after a while.