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Mon.goose, the whys and wherefores of their interior dot a mystery, is a trio comprised of guitarists Tetuzi Akiyama and Taku Sugimoto, along with the beguilingly named synthesizer player Utah Kawasaki. All three are prominent members of the Japanese avant-garde improv scene and all tend to favor more of a quiet and contemplative nature, though one filled with microscopic activity. All three also play in a surprisingly tonal manner. Sugimoto often picks out perfectly beautiful guitar melodies (if floating, unattached ones), unusual in a genre where extended techniques are virtually de rigeur. It makes for a dreamy kind of soundscape, though not one without prickliness or unease as the performers prod each other gently with just enough dissonance and static noise to keep the listener from wallowing too comfortably. Kawasaki launches subdued fusillades of electronic hisses, burbles, and hums, providing a rich welter of noise for the guitarists to delicately dance over. At times, soft noise swallows the guitars and an industrial glaze permeates the room; when the tentative string notes re-emerge as though poking through the haze, the effect is both delightful and eerie. This live session is an extremely fine example of one area of the vast experimental Japanese music scene and will be enjoyed by lovers of quiet improv as well as, conceivably, fans of ambient music who are growing tired of the same old same old. Highly recommended.

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