Yoshihiro Hanno / Mick Karn

Liquid Glass

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Released on a few labels over a short period of time, Liquid Glass first appeared in 1998 on Flavor of Sound (Japan) and Medium Productions (U.K.). The album is the result of a collaboration between Mick Karn and Yoshihiro Hanno. If the British bassist's signature fretless sound dominates throughout, this is nonetheless the Japanese techno artist's project first and foremost. Hanno composed the pieces and programmed the tracks, and added keyboards, guitars, and samples. Then Karn put in his riffs and solos, played extra clarinet and bass clarinet, and recited a few words that were later embedded in the final mix. This ranks among Hanno's most mainstream releases (he would do much more avant-gardist music just a few months later, starting with April). Rhythms alternate between dreamy ambient techno and driving drum'n'bass. The fast-paced tracks remain tasteful, thanks to varied arrangements, a flair in keeping the mixes crystal-clear, and of course Karn's bass, seductive as ever. The softer numbers, such as "Seafall" and "Lunette," provide the best moments, simply because both artists benefit from having more room to stretch. Kosei Yamamoto adds a touch of soprano sax on these two titles, too. The album is tied up with a marine theme reflected in the track titles, but it hardly makes an impact on the music itself (with the exception of a fog horn in "Sail and Wind").

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