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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Barre Phillips & Motoharu Yoshizawa - Oh My, Those Boys! (NoBusiness, 2018) ****½

Oh My, Those Boys! is an epic monster of double double bass, well a double bass, played by the mighty Barre Phillips, and a homemade electric five string vertical bass (as its described), played by Motoharu Yoshizawa. Recorded live at Cafe Amores, Hofu, Yamaguchi, Japan, the seventy-five minutes of Oh My, Those Boys! represents only part of that evening’s nearly three hours of music. A previous forty minute chunk from this evening was released in 1998 on Live “Okidoki” through the Chap Chap label. Oh, My Those Boys! is part of an ongoing dive into the Chap Chap vault of unreleased recordings

From the opening pizzicato section through moments of beautiful arco playing to moments of noise and the occasional vocalization, Oh My! covers an unimaginable amount of ground in it’s fifty-five minute runtime. The second track, Those Boys!, runs just over twenty minutes, but is even more extreme and haunting. Yoshizawa’s use of electronics mixed with Phillips’ more lyric bow work is inspired. The constant variation between two masters, and between electric and acoustic timbres, is delightful. The end of Those Boys! alone is worth the journey.

Oh My, Those Boys! is as fine an example of duet playing as you’re likely to hear. The work is as constantly shifting as a hike in a desert slot canyon. You don’t know how narrow or wide the path may be, you don’t know what’s lurking around the corner, you don’t know if you’ll be swept away in a flash flood or cooked to death under a blazing hot sun, but if you make it through to the end, you’re sure to have enjoyed the journey.