With Sun/Moon, Somei Satoh speaks with the ancient, distinct voice of Buddha, with enough melodramatic romanticism to stir the emotions of even the most Western ears. Perhaps less cinematic than his previous album, Toward the Night, but no less passionate in tone, with gorgeous, rich dialogue between shakuhachi and koto that circulates between whispers, cries, gasps, and deep contemplation. The opening piece, "Kougetsu," is the sound of a rock garden minding its own business, a dragonfly dreaming restlessly amongst the bamboo. "Sanyou" follows in much the same way, in an expression of (as the composer puts it) "the purity of the early morning air." Shin Miyashita plucks his 17-string koto with patience, reverence, and in perfect symbiosis with Akikazu Nakamura, a stoic virtuoso on the shakuhachi.
Died in the Wool — variations on David Sylvian's 2009 release Manafon with the addition of 6 new pieces, including collaborations with acclaimed composer Dai Fujikura, producers Jan Bang and Erik Honoré and a stellar roster of contemporary musicians and improvisers. Released as a Double CD digipak in a hardboard slipcase. Disc Two featuring audio from the installation When We Return You Won't Recognise Us.
If the Swedish group name Skuggorna Och Ljuset does not ring any bells, then the names of some of its members may help jog the memory—Magnus Granberg on clarinet, Anna Lindal on violin, Leo Svensson Sander on cello, Erik Carlsson on percussion. Yes? Well, all four of them have previously figured on Another Timbre releases as members of the larger ensemble Skogen, in particular playing the Granberg compositions "Ist gefallen in den Schnee" and "Despairs Had Governed Me Too Long".
David Sylvian first collaborated with American poet Franz Wright's voice in the Kilowatt Hour live project with Christian Fennesz and Stephan Mathieu. On There's a Light That Enters Houses with No Other House in Sight, the writer appears again, but in an almost entirely different musical context. Fennesz returns and pianist John Tilbury, Otomo Yoshide, and Toshimaru Nakamura provide significant assistance. A single 64-minute work, Sylvian's composition features the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet reading from his collection of prose poems Kindertotenwald. (It literally translates as "Children Dead Forest," yet given Wright's well-documented volunteer work with children stricken by grief, "Children of the Dead Forest" might be more appropriate.)
2009 album from the acclaimed British vocalist and former member of Japan. David Sylvian is a man apart. In a thirty-year career that spans the New Romantic movement, ambient works and Progressive Rock, and mature and esoteric Pop, Sylvian has tested popular styles and bent them to his own vision. On Manafon, Sylvian pursues "a completely modern kind of chamber music. Intimate, dynamic, emotive, democratic, economical." In sessions in London, Vienna, and Tokyo, Sylvian assembled the world's leading improvisers and innovators, artists who explore free improvisation, space-specific performance, and live electronics. From Evan Parker and Keith Rowe, to Fennesz and members of Polwechsel, to Sachiko M and Otomo Yoshihide, the musicians provide both a backdrop and a counterweight to his own vocal performances.
Of the many solo soprano recordings by British improviser Evan Parker, few offer as intimate a portrait as this one in terms of his development as an artist. In 1993, Parker had hit a new stride in his playing. He worked – as he does now – long hours to find a way through the improvisation barrier imposed by the restrictions of circular and conventional breathing, toward a series of microtonal possibilities that were adaptable in virtually any situation, solo or group. His practice had led him to a place of opening the breathing techniques toward new microphonics and multiple sonances. His wish to document them, however, led to his nearly abandoning his findings. He discovered that in the music rooms of Holywell in England, that the harmonic atmospherics of the room, of the architecture itself, provided an entirely new set of tonal and spatial possibilities he hadn't counted upon and proceeded to make a record to document those instead.