Exposé Online banner

Kira Kira — Bright Force
(Libra 204-048, 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-05-07

Bright Force Cover art

So I wonder what Satoko Fujii is going to do after releasing twelve albums in twelve months... (This is the fourth installment of her 60th birthday marathon.) Maybe take a vacation, but the various orchestras, quartets, trios, and big-bands she leads have already taken her just about everywhere in the world one can think of. I had never heard of Kira Kira before, but happy to learn of their work. This is Fujii’s Australian quartet, featuring trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, who plays on nearly all of her projects, drummer Ittetsu Takemura, and Australian keyboardist Alister Spence. The group began back in 2008 as the duo of Fujii and Spence, first with performances in Australia, and later on a tour of Japan that included dates with Fujii’s orchestra. In 2016 drummer Tony Buck of The Necks joined Spence, Fujii, and Tamura to form Kira Kira (meaning to sparkle or twinkle brilliantly) with new compositions and an appearance at the Melbourne Jazz Festival. The quartet had a great time and decided to schedule a Japanese tour in 2017, but scheduling conflicts prevented Buck from making the trip, so Tamura recommended Takemura to replace him on the Japanese dates. The performance at hand took place on September 12, 2017 at Knuttel House in Tokyo, and the recording turned out so well that they have decided to release it on CD. There are three tracks here; the ten minute opener, “Because of the Sun,” is Spence’s composition, a whirlwind of ordered chaos that lives, breathes, and grows as it proceeds. Throughout, Fujii plays piano, while Spence plays Fender Rhodes, often with a variety of effects pedals and so on. Having a second keyboard player surely takes Fujii and company into new directions, but this is still well within the jazz idiom, albeit crazy and free, these are definitely composed pieces. Second up is Tamura’s 13-minute “Nat 4” which launches with some brilliant trumpeting, but also provides space for a lengthy and impressive drum solo by Takemura, before it all gets back into a rousing free-jazz groove, with Spence puling out some absolutely bizarre keyboard sounds around the nine-minute mark, sounding like he’s running his Rhodes through a ring modulator. Last up is Fujii’s composition, the three part “Luna Lionfish,” which spans a full 35 minutes in total. The opening section begins as a collection of subtle sonic curiosities punctuated by Fujii’s piano that slowly builds over the duration. Over the course of the second movement which, the building continues with a stronger presence of percussion and trumpet, until it all takes shape in a tightly composed form for the entire group, culminating with a beautiful solo from Fujii. This leads directly into part three, which is highlighted by another great, and even longer drum solo, followed by another free jazz romp by the entire group, including plenty of Tamura’s trademark trumpet ‘sounds’, all seeming to end close to where part one began. All taken, this is an excellent disc; the more one listens, the better it gets.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura, Kira Kira, Alister Spence

More info
http://satokofujii.bandcamp.com/album/bright-force

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Azigza - Kriya – Combining influences from around the world can be a dangerous enterprise for musicians. There will always be some who call foul at the “appropriation” of sounds from other cultures, preferring...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues