Tomoko Mukaiyama

Amsterdam X Tokyo

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Pianist Mukaiyama is a champion of avant-garde piano composition and this project is an example of the methods she uses to assemble and package sets of pieces that have been written for her. In this case she contacted six composers, half from Tokyo, the other half from Amsterdam. The resulting collection makes a statement about her own lifestyle in these two cities and about her contacts therein, but beyond that the message is a little vague as this is hardly your friendly travelogue-type music. Listeners would most likely have problems picking out which compositions were by Dutch composers, and which by Japanese. The works are consistently well played as the pianist is simply a dynamo; the composers obviously must be aware of this and are coming up with material that is right for her skills. The opening track, Karen Tanaka's "Techno Etudes" is a great idea and sets a high standard for the rest of the CD, and although the music does have moments of inconsistency, on the whole this is a wonderful listening experience. It isn't just simple solo piano, as some of the pieces make use of electronics, tapes, and sampling.

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