Hoppy Kamiyama

Juice and Tremolo: The Works of Chamber Music

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This album collects a mixed grill of compositions from 1993 to 1997, all previously unreleased. Fans of Hoppy Kamiyama know him as a wildly creative artist who likes to take a shot at everything. They should not be surprised by the scope of diversity found on this CD. Newcomers could be left in disarray and truth be told, Juice and Tremolo: The Works of Chamber Music suffers from its hodgepodge nature. The CD starts with three string quartets. "F.F.F.," performed by the Neco Saito Quartet, stands out simply because it is silly and good for a hearty laugh. Lasting six and a half minutes, it consists of a single, fast-paced, four-bar motif. While the musicians saw away, the composer holds cards with instructions for the benefit of both performers and audience. "Fantasm*B" is the most daring and interesting track of the set. Scored for string quartet, harp, drums, and metals, it features rich arrangements and striking harmonies. Fans of Optical*8 will want "Fresh for the Jet Set," an eight-minute rocker. The longest track, at 14 minutes, is the piano solo "Nucleon," an addition to the album Piano Works. Highly delicate and impressionistic, it makes a striking contrast with the Optical*8 romper. The remainder of the disc sees the interest level drop. The four pieces intended as TV commercials (some were actually used) feature good ideas but don't transcend their nature. Name-spotters will notice Otomo Yoshihide contributing turntables in "TVCM -- The Chugoku Electric Company."

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