Koji Asano

Spherical Moss Factory

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For his first release in 2002 (six weeks after the apparition of Crevasses), Koji Asano went out of his way. Instead of delivering another of his monolithic, puzzling sound art pieces, he opted for an acoustic composition for violin and contrabass. Spherical Moss Factory is performed by the Koji Asano Ensemble, consisting for this incarnation of violinist Tomomi Tokunaga and bassist Kentaro Suzuki. The work is presented in two movements (a rarity in Asano's productions of the preceding two or three years). The score shifts between sections of microtonal studies and textures (using careful bow-pressure techniques to produce a granulated sound) on the one hand and "pure" melodious passages on the other -- the alienating and the seductive. The simplicity of the Baroque themes, their insistence (in the first movement, one such theme becomes the sole figure for 20 minutes), and the acoustic setting all make for a very different Asano experience. It is also much less powerful and personal. Some may recognize in this instrumentation the basis of the four-CD series The Last Shade of Evening Falls, but the two works hold no further resemblance. The piece displays nicely contrasting dynamics (busy violin vs. calm bass, very quiet moments vs. frenetic passages, etc.) and establishes an interesting dialogue involving tonality, atonality, and microtonality. But the classicist form will surprise more than the music itself.

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