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
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.
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more