Masahiko Okura


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Enticingly titled, bject is a live performance by this Tokyo-based trio made up of alto saxophone (Masahiko Okura), analog synthesizer (Utah Kawasaki), and turntable/electronics (Tetuzi Akiyama). These young "veterans" of the onkyo scene turn in a gorgeous, substantial program broken into two lengthy pieces. "Business Jump" consists largely of rumbling, low tones, deeply reverberant and mysterious. Okura finesses the difficult achievement of blending his reed seamlessly with its electronic counterparts with a series of clicks and drones. His "bass tube" on the second track evokes the didgeridoo, although with none of the quasi-mystical flavor often imparted by contemporary users of that instrument. Here, it offsets a harsh whistling, providing the lower level of a sonic sandwich that envelops a chittering, bustling micro-world. Unlike much of the sparse, carefully balanced music that emanates from the same scene, bject is richly textured, with luscious layers that evoke purring engines, clattering footsteps, and sudden steam emissions, a world in which the denizens of Blade Runner would feel right at home. As it peaks toward the end, "Big Comic" has utterly immersed the listener in its seismic drones, torqued-metal roars, and shrill whispers. It's a wonderful performance, among the best that emerged from Japanese free improvisers early in the 21st century. Highly recommended.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
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