Masahiko Hosokawa — Like Shimmering of Hot Air
(Belle Antique 96306, 1997, CD)
by Mike Ezzo, Published 1997-05-01
Belle Antique have really come full circle now, with this release — a solo keyboard work from Hosokawa, a native Japanese composer. The album consists roughly of six solo piano pieces, alternating with very short interludes on sampler keyboards to flesh it out. Only on "Landscape with Percussion 4" does he finally decide to blend the piano and synth textures into one whole. Depending on where you drop the needle, (or in this case the laser beam) you will come up with a decidedly skewed impression of what Hosokawa is up to. Add to that the fact that many of the works segue into each other, and you have a whole smorgasbord of sonic images on your plate. Influences are not easy to pin down, unless you happen to be an expert on modern-day keyboard composition (which I am not). I definitely hear strains of Debussy in his tendency for modality, aqueous textures, and whole tone melodies in "Falling in Broad Daylight." Visions of Boulez pop up in a few places, especially in the atonal pointillist outbursts that open the album with "Prologue: Awakening." "In Istanbul, And..." really works better for my taste, a more coherent and unified snippet emulating the patter of rainfall — simple, tranquil, and deliberate. Alan Hovhaness' piano writing comes to mind here. The title piece works much the same way, and is the finest effort by far I think in that Hosokawa shows an astute skill in tying everything together, free of any tangents or loose ends.
Others however didn't quite do the trick for me in the way that they capriciously skip around the block, capturing a melange of twentieth-century compositional techniques in their path; impressionist here, dodecaphonic there, with a bit of minimalism added for contrast. Certainly a textbook of modern keyboard writing is evident here. To enjoy this music though, you would have to be prepared for a study in variety.
Related artist(s): Masahiko Hosokawa
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more
(Tom Newman) - Variations on a Rhythm of Mike Oldfield - David Bedford – This is a four track EP, and is basically a Tom Newman album. It's confusing, I know. This is some of that stuff you know Oldfield and Co. did for laughs (when perhaps beer and worse entered the... (1998) » Read more