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Kaze & Ikue Mori — Crustal Movement
(Circum-Disc Libra 206, 2023, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-05-31

Crustal Movement Cover art

Crustal Movement sees Kaze once again teamed up with Ikue Mori for a wild set of highly improvised music. The participants seem to have regarded Sand Storm (2020) a success, and so used the techniques of remote collaboration developed during global lockdown to come up with a new set of music. In what has become a standard working method for many artists in the last couple of years, the participants laid down tracks of their own, then shared with the others to contribute further parts. In an interesting variation of the technique, Peter Orins (drums) and Christian Pruvost (trumpet) added their parts to the tracks provided by Satoko Fujii (piano), Natsuki Tamura (trumpet) and Ikue Mori (electronics) in a live concert rather than in the confines of a studio. Each of the six pieces is credited with a composer or two, though nothing was notated on traditional scores — an outline was provided with instructions such as “play fast here.” The final result still sounds highly collaborative and spontaneous, since the contributors were utilizing the same skills and sensibilities as they would in live improvisations. I liken it to the idea of musicians improvising together while blindfolded, where they only have the auditory cues of the others to interact with — does it conceptually make a difference if those sounds are coming from a person standing there versus a recorded copy of something they did previously? Obviously reactions are only on one side, but as a listener, the result is essentially the same. In any case, Crustal Movement is a fascinating listen, and far from a chaotic wall of sound. The players have allowed plenty of space for individual notes to shine, and their explorational tendencies are given free rein. Yes, you’ll hear a lot of weird squealing and splatting noises from the trumpets, but there are also lovely passages of lyrical playing. Fujii reaches inside the piano to pluck, tap, and scrape strings, and it sometimes sounds like she’s sitting on the keyboard, but she also provides contemplative lines and evocative chords. Orins is known for using his drum kit in unconventional ways, and there’s plenty of that here — in fact he rarely plays in a conventional way — but he’s very sensitive to the moods and flow of the music. Mori’s electronics are often subtle, and never abrasive, totally original in a world full of keyboard players and electronic manipulators. Put it all together and you have some of the most interesting improvised music in recent memory.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura, Kaze / Trouble Kaze, Ikue Mori, Peter Orins

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