Misato Mochizuki's orchestral piece Si bleu, si calme (1997), begins with a loud thump of percussion and the sound of distant strings fluttering away like insects scattering after a woodsman lays the first axe blow to a rotted old tree trunk; as the piece progresses, the blows become further apart, more colorful details emerge, and ultimately we move into an entirely different sonic arena. Mochizuki's music is built out of a wide range of non-traditional elements; sliding sounds; long sustained tones; fragmentary, wispy little gestures; hocket-like exchanges among various winds; and countless other effects that range from the inherently beautiful to the deliriously wacky. Never does the listener feel out of the loop; however, the events in Mochizuki's music are relational to shared experience and perception and the way they fit together tells a story.
Kairos' Misato Mochizuki: Si bleu, si calme, contains a program of five works, ranging from 1996 to 2000, as performed expertly by Klangforum Wien under the direction of Johannes Kalitzke. This was a period Mochizuki spent in Europe working at IRCAM and the Darmstadt Summer Courses, yet there is nothing "Darmstadt-y" about her music, which has a natural forward progression and the feeling of being completely worked through, yet improvisational, rather like some of Edgard Varèse's work, though the comparison is made along the lines of emotional effect and not content or sound. That ball is entirely in Mochizuki's court; he has a superb grasp of instruments and a great ear for the variety of textures that can be achieved through combining them. For listeners who value some measure of adventurousness in their music, Misato Mochizuki's Kairos release Si bleu, si calme, will serve as a welcome surprise. The adventure is an exciting one, and the guide never wanders off the path moving forward; this results in a trip you will want to take again and stimulates interest in the offerings that Mochizuki has made since.