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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Japanese flute and percussion

 By Stef

Now that I'm in a Japanese mood, I might as well continue. Two albums with flute and percussion were recently released with Japanese musicians, but of a totally different nature.

Carlo Costa & Yukari - Crepuscular Activity (Self-published, 2011) ***

 The music on this EP can hardly be qualified as jazz, but it is hard to pigeon-hole it in any case. Italian drummer Carlo Costa plays percussion and glockenspiel, Japanese flautist Yukari plays flute and alto flute. The overall result is quite welcoming and inviting, slow and meditative, eery at times, because of its high level of abstraction like you can expect from Japanese music : less is more. Some parts, and especially the beautiful "Black Pond", are really impressive, while other moments remain a little non-committal, and yes, a little too much on the safe side, and of course its "only" an EP.

Kaoru Watanabe & Tatsuya Nakatani- Michiyuki (Nakatani-kobo, 2011) ***½

Drummer Tatsuya Nakatani and flautist Kaoru Watanabe takes things a step further. Still based on Japanese traditional music, they push it deep into free improv and jazz territory, with very intense moments of high volume playing and fast interactions, very un-Zen. The best parts are the more experimental ones, on which Nakatani's sustained cymbal screeching offers a great ground-tone for Watanabe's improvisation, resulting in lots of tension and conflict.

© stef