Pianist and composer Glenn Horiuchi appears here in a setting of four of his compositions: two in duet, one in quartet, and one in quintet. The first track is the first movement of his "Poston Sonata" (see Asianimprov 008 for the entire work). Commissioned for septet originally, it is performed in duet here with Francis Wong, who sings, narrates, and plays saxophone. It is a far cry from the moving and beautiful song form recorded on the earlier album. This version of this movement is angry, craggy, and full of rushed moments. "Issel Spirit" is far more enjoyable, though it too was recorded before. The tuba of William Roper juxtaposed against the shamisen and percussion creates a silvery kind of movement that both resists and creates itself throughout, as Francis Wong's violin plays a mournful melody that walks the line between ancient Japanese folk music and 17th century classical music right through the middle of all the tensions. The title track that closes the album is a deeply meditative work, featuring the shamisen, piano, tuba, percussion, and saxophone. There are intervals in this work in which silence itself is the conductor of the movement and interaction between instruments as they try to recreate the "ephemeral beauty in a single drop of rain." As intervallic architecture goes, this reliance on silence is ingenious and allows for each player to cut out everything that isn't necessary when they are playing. There is a suspension of time over the course of this longish work (23 minutes and 57 seconds) and a spatiality that allows for one series of expressions to dovetail into another -- even when played simultaneously -- without intrusion. It is a stunningly beautiful work and a direct contrast to the re-recorded first movement of "Poston Sonata."
Dew Drop Review
by Thom Jurek