Toshimaru Nakamura

Good Morning, Good Night

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Surprisingly, although these three mainstays of contemporary Japanese innovations had worked together in a huge number of different projects, this album was their first performance as a trio. They clearly used the occasion to make a statement, to construct an edifice that would challenge conceptions held not only by the music-listening public in general (certainly a given) but also many of those held by the experimental community. In other words, this is an extremely difficult recording to absorb and appreciate, one that will require many, many listenings to decipher. But when understood (even partially), it yields enormous rewards.

On the surface, the four tracks are quite severe. Although no instrumentation is included (at the behest of the musicians), one presumes that Sachiko is wielding her empty sampler and sine waves (possibly with some contact mic work), and Nakamura his no-input mixing board. Yoshihide appears to confine himself to the turntable and, at that, only to abstract vinyl scratches and skips as well as manipulations of the machine itself. It's perhaps best to listen to the four pieces herein as their titles describe, as evocative of various times of day. The opener "Good Morning" will likely be the most difficult for the new listener, the first 20 of its 30 minutes giving one few toeholds, the sparse, softer sounds sporadically interrupted by loud, harsh bleats. There's a randomness that takes a bit of getting used to (though you can possibly imagine it as restructured images of the early sounds outside your window) before it settles into a more even, relaxed texture for its final ten minutes. By the time "Good Evening" has rolled around, the trio has integrated its sounds entirely. Although the palette remains largely the same, they've subtly enhanced the placement of elements (and added a few more sustained ones) so as to achieve a miraculous naturalness of environment. As arbitrary and beautiful as clouds, insects, airplanes, or stars in the sky. By the time the "day" encapsulated in this session has transpired (including a luscious "Good Night" kiss), if the listener has been able to abandon preconceptions and simply bathe in the music, the improvisations presented here, initially forbidding, will have become as welcoming, rich, and fascinating as one is likely to encounter. Highly recommended.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick