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This Is It! — Mosaic
(Libra 203-068, 2021, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-08-09

Mosaic Cover art

With Mosaic, we have the answer to a question posed in our review of 1538: “I’m not sure if there is more to come from this trio configuration or if this is it…” After three years, Satoko Fujii (piano), Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), and Takashi Itani (percussion) have reconvened for another extraordinary set of tunes. To a certain extent, anyone who’s heard any of the previous recordings by Fujii and Tamura will know what to expect. The music is highly improvisational, though there are composed elements as well — maybe not in the sense of note-by-note compositions, but predetermined plans for how a piece will be performed — and there will be both crazed noisemaking and beautiful lyricism. On the piano, this takes the forms of wild flurries of atonal notes, dense clusters of notes, and passages of quiet where the notes are allowed to resonate and interact with each other. Applied to the trumpet, this means lovely melodic lines juxtaposed with squeaks, blats, and all manner of other strange sounds. Itani’s percussion is similarly varied, including vibraphone and all manner of other objects in addition to a drum kit. The pieces were recorded live, but with Itani remote from Fujii and Tamura, connected via the internet, and this leads to an interesting kind of spontaneity. As a listener, you’d never know how it was created, though the liner notes describe the process, as well as Fujii’s impressions of how it affected the work: “If we play in the same room, listening is as natural as breathing, I’m almost unaware that I’m doing it. But on the internet, it was not like breathing. My ears worked like listening carefully to another language; it required a little extra effort. But we found we could make music in this way.” Among the multitude of Satoko Fujii recordings available now, Mosaic is one that I find more satisfying to listen to than most, and it’s a fine introduction to her work for a novice.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura, This Is It!

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