Exposé Online banner

Satoko Fujii / Yuko Yamaoka — Diary 2005-2015: Yuko Yamaoka Plays the Music of Satoko Fujii
(Libra 201-053/054, 2018, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-12-14

Diary 2005-2015: Yuko Yamaoka Plays the Music of Satoko Fujii Cover art

I’ve often wondered what is the maximum number of tracks that a sincle CD can accommodate. I remember that Dr. Nerve’s Beta 14 OK had around 16 regular tracks followed by 44 “Nerve Events,” each only a few seconds long, for a total of 60. Diary 2005-2015 is a two-disc set where the first disc has 62 cuts and the second has 56 — that’s 118 tracks total! But each disc is only about 42 minutes in length. Here, Fujii is the composer, while clasically trained pianist Yuko Yamaoka is the performer. The origin of each of the pieces here begins with Fujii’s practice routine during the period in question; each time she sits down at the piano, she begins by practicing composing for about fifteen minutes, something new each time, from short fragments of ideas that may only last fifteen seconds, to slightly longer pieces that approach the two-minute mark. Each one is titled numerically with the date of the composition, for example “030905” or “072712.” These short pieces encompass a lot of variety, some very abstract and difficult, others have a more rounded feel that piques the spirit and imagination, a few of them were even reused and developed into longer pieces that eventually appeared on her albums. “012707” evolved into “Tokyo Rush Hour” on her 2008 duet album with Natsuki Tamura, Chun. “052013” became the title track from the 2015 Orchestra Berlin album Ichigo Ichie. But most of the pieces just accumulated in notebooks on her piano top and in boxes nearby. Mostly these little compositional jewels represent the wide range of ideas that Fujii typically incorporates into her works. At the urging of her husband Tamura, she went through ten years worth of these compositions and selected the highlights among them, but ultimately found it too difficult to play all of the pieces exactly as written. This is where Yamaoka, a friend since her days at the New England Conservatory, comes into the picture; she has also performed on the New York Orchestra’s South Wind album; Fujii felt that her superior skill and phrasing as a player was what these miniatures needed. Yamaoka agreed to take on the project of recording all of these, and an amazing performance she has presented here, making them seem almost effortless. The result is something that a listener can appreciate on a number of levels, both as composition and performance.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii, Yuko Yamaoka

Latest news

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

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

John Curtis - Short Songs about Affordable Food – An interesting concept — and a successful one too, that certainly lives up to its title. There are 43 songs here, and only a handful break the minute-and-a-half mark. Some are instrumentals, but...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues