Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Natsuki Tamura — Summer Tree
(Libra 101-070, 2022, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-05-02
Composer and trumpeter Tamura has released several solo albums previously, but none have been quite like this — most were extended pieces for trumpet only, using standard and extended techniques, with any other accompaniment kept at a minimum, if at all. On Summer Tree, he has opened the door to multi-tracking, and also playing other instruments in addition to his trumpet, so what we get is an amazing collection of sounds and textures layered on top of one another to create a sonic foundation for each of the album’s four lengthy tracks. The result is always interesting and sometimes beautifully chaotic, as Tamura extends his sonic palette with piano, percussion, and electronics, in addition to standard and extended trumpet techniques; one might hear the result of half a dozen or more overdubbed layers of mysterious sounds, all in addition to his lead role as trumpeter. Satoko Fujii joins him on one of the pieces, “Summer Wind,” not on her expected instrument (piano or keyboards) but instead on vocalizations — whoops, screeches, howls, barking sounds and other experimental vocal sounds, while Tamura contributes to the vocalizations also. The opening title cut almost sounds like a screaming swarm of locusts overwhelming the listener, while low growling sounds intertwine with them and prepare for the entry of a muted trumpet leading the melody — it’s way out there, but truly wonderful. “Summer Color” begins with some chattering repetitive metallic percussive sounds, almost as if looped, but with enough variation signaling that it isn’t; on top of that we hear low-register piano outbursts and bizarre snarling, squonking trumpet sounds that seem to be straight out of a nightmare. Album closer “Summer Dream” begins with an interesting electronic-sounding drone that serves as the gritty bottom end for a soaring and powerful trumpet melody that wanders freely above it all. At the mid-point the low drones go away and the trumpet takes it completely solo for awhile, before the droning returns, and the cycle continues. With Summer Tree, Tamura seems to have outdone all his previous efforts with an album that marvels and mystifies.
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