Enkidu

Hasselt

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

This is a wonderful concert, recorded in Belgium in November 2002. The longstanding duo of Chie Mukai and Seiichi Yamamoto is here joined by Eric Cordier on hurdy-gurdy and electronics. The set consists of a single, 68-minute improvisation. More dynamic and entrancing than L'Énergie de l'Existence, Mukai's previous release on the French label Turtles' Dream, Hasselt feels like a tribal ceremonial, one that commands silence from the listener (even in one's living room) and fascinates from beginning to end. Mukai's kokyu and Cordier's hurdy-gurdy, featured together during the first 15 minutes, blend to create a whiny drone, while Yamamoto's guitar slowly drops down bluesy licks. After 15 minutes, the piece (not the musicians, the piece itself) takes a rest and Mukai switches to percussion for a short while. After 27 minutes and a second respite, the guitarist picks up a flute and Cordier turns to electronics, sampling the music in real time (there might be some field recordings in there, too, unless the low train whistles were obtained by treating the sound of the flute). A very rhythmical and ritualistic passage follows soon after, leading to a percussive climax and a third pause at roughly 50 minutes -- the longest and quietest rest. Then, through a relatively quick buildup, Cordier's electronics become more tortured and harsher as Yamamoto contributes some throat singing. It's back to kokyu and guitar for the finale, Cordier adding an electronic subtext to the duet. Throughout the performance, Mukai provides chanting episodes that enhance the spiritual atmosphere of the proceedings. This is clearly one of Mukai's strongest releases of the last few years.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
01:07:42
blue highlight denotes track pick