Alister Spence / Satoko Fujii — Intelsat
(Alister Spence Music ASM007, 2018, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-11-08
I’ve lost count now, but this is apparently the ninth (of twelve) releases that Satoko Fujii is releasing for her 60th birthday celebration / marathon. This is an improvisational duo with Australian keyboard player Alister Spence, who was part of the four-piece with Fujii Kira Kira who released Bright Force earlier this year. But don’t expect a repeat of that one – Intelsat is a very different type of performance. First of all, there are no drums or trumpet here, secondly and more importantly this is a pure sonic exploration, with Fujii’s piano and Spence’s Fender Rhodes treated, effected and played in unconventional ways such that most of the time their instruments don’t sound anything like one would expect them to, and that’s what adds a truly interesting angle to this release, which was recorded at the Intelsat jazz club in Nishio, Japan, September 7th 2017. The seven tracks here are named for different moons of Saturn, and vary in duration from three to twenty-two minutes, each following its own unique direction into alternate universes. It’s best to just kick back and enjoy the tapestry of sounds without trying too hard to decipher how they are made. There are some things that are somewhat recognizable, like electronic beeps and squeaks, piano played by strumming or picking the strings, something that sounds like muted bells in the distance and gamelan gongs on the opening track “Mimas.” One track here, “Fenrir,” does not feature Fujii at all, it’s a solo piano piece by Spence that seems rather conventional compared to the other six, but comes at the midpoint of the album when the listener might need some respite from all the sonic abstractions. That said, every sound here, no matter how chaotic, random or mysterious is easy on the ears, nothing too noisy or grating. This one is definitely out there, one for the intrepid explorers among us.
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more