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27.8.07
 

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Taj Mahal Travellers - August 1974

Improvised Music from Japan (Nippon Columbia, 1975)

Takehisa Kosugi / Ryo Koike / Yukio Tsuchiya / Michihiro Kimura
Seiji Nagai / Tokio Hasegawa / Kinji Hayashi / Hirokazu Sato

August 1974 is surely one of the most hallowed and whispered about documents of the avant-garde artifact-era (a set of these on original LP would set you back $1000+ even 10-15 years ago & have very rarely been offered anywhere). The sound is floating like coming from distant loudspeakers, coloured back and forth from hand made electronic devices and delayed throug echo machines. Bass, harmonica, trumpet, synthesizer, oriental percussions are added. There are no interractions between the musicians, each one is having his own inner discussion with the instrument, however the result of merging them all together is a pulsating feedback of complex sound waves. Music drifts slowly like autumn sunsets or a peacefull lovemaking offer. Zen-like approach to ethnic japanese music and gets into an intergalactic mind trip. Full of cosmic electronics, kosugi's violin effects, tibetan chanting, ethnic drones, oscillators the band displays one track of eerie haunting galaxial music full of quiet tension.

"Places and times of the trip: coffee houses, small galleries of Tokyo. They perform also on lonely beaches at dawn or on deserted hills in the afternoon. Also in Sweden, India, Iran, and England. Wherever a power supply is available. 'This music is not rehearsed, it happens. Without written notes or oral instructions; without an ensemble leader, each one having his own discourse immediately integrated into a slow, irregular throbbing of complex sound waves. Sound waves surfing.' Verfremdung: instruments are amplified with delay through echo machines. Previously produced sounds delivered by distant loudspeakers have already become something beyond reach when heard. This feedback - actually a time-space lag - is the basis of their music. The instrument arsenal: a violin played with glissandi in the same manner as the Indian sitar, string bass, guitar, drums, harmonica, small synthesizers, santurs (Iranian dulcimer played with two spoon-shaped mallets), a shahnal (Indian oboe), voices (Japanese Buddhist chanting, harmonic singing such as La Monte Young does or as heard in Stockhausen's 'Stimmung'). Amplifiers: a heterodyne (voltage controlled filters connected to infrasonic wave sources) which changes tone colors back and forth very slowly. Also, other rather primitive hand-made electronic devices. All these contribute to the everchanging diversity of the ensemble. Close your eyes, relax and musically receive passing clouds, breezes, surging waves. This music is slow as a Japanese tea ceremony and as peacefully full of cheer as ancient scroll paintings. - Yuji Takahashi

 


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