Brett Larner


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The sounds produced here are so new to Western ears that they can be difficult at first to absorb. Larner performs on koto, which sounds like a cross between an acoustic guitar, a harp, and the inside strings of a piano. He is joined on all three pieces from this live concert by Shiko Hikage on koto and Philip Gelb on shakuhachi, which sounds very much like a flute. The music meanders at its own pace, somewhat self-absorbed, though always fascinating. While there are no recognizable melodic moments, and the performance is very abstract, it is clear that there is much more than doodling, and this is the work of some serious artists. Much of the interest comes in the process, but Larner's debt to Anthony Braxton (with whom he studied at Wesleyan) is apparent, though touched by an Eastern flair.

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