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Monday, February 22, 2010

Tatsuya Nakatani & Forbes Graham - Essences (BLAQ - 2010) ****½

Tatsuya Nakatani plays all kinds of percussion: bells, gongs, small drums, bowls, while Forbes Graham plays trumpet and piccolo trumpet, yet most of what you hear are sounds: floating, flowing, fleeting, scraping, scratching, screeching : balanced, in the sense of real equilibrium between different elements that are quite active and dynamic, balanced in the sense of authentic expression of feelings and thoughts, rather than showing off skills, balanced, in the sense of using regular playing in combination with extended techniques.

  If the first piece, "Cardamom", is quiet and menacing, the second track, "Vanilla", starts with a trumpet like you've rarely heard it, full of a howling desire to escape from something unspeakable, then gradually shifting to flutelike whistles over an almost endless single vibrating tone coming from the gong. "Lavender" is full of intense bustle and interaction, shadowboxing on a square meter.

"Mhyrr" is more expansive, with stretched sounds and the trumpet and drums identifiable for what they are, with Forbes stepping it up, with hypnotic circular breathing moments, supported by Nakatani's subtle touches around the beat, a great pivotal improvisation around which the rest of the album revolves. With "Basil", we're back in the realm of minimalism, with both musicians playing almost the same whistling sounds despite the quite different nature of their instruments, a harmony of diversity. "Sage" is the mirror part to "Lavender". The last track, "Sandalwood" evolves again from recognizable instruments to weird growls and grunts, shouts and scraping, full of intense energy. Intimate and powerful.

© stef


Seven said...

Sounds great.I'll BUY(real old -school!) a copy of this;thanks for the review.The From Between Trio is my favorite Nakatani project.Their DVD,released last year is incredible;great to see how they work,but now I keep the TV off,and concentrate on the masterful music...

'Free Jazz' doesn't get any better!