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Higuchi, Keiko – “Ephemeral As Petals” – [Utech Records]

Thurston Hunger   5/16/2013   A Library, CD

Higuchi
Whatever Egyptian priestess’ soul possessed Diamanda Gala
looks like she’s time-sharing with Keiko as well. Honest,
I tried to delete my memory of Galas rumble-screech
cocktail hour in hell piano blues/ballads when listening
to this, but every time some defunct synapse would sprout
a new axon. Higuchi is new to me, but apparently she’s made
complicated music with folks from Merzbow to Alan Silva.
She’s lithe but a force, check out the heavy improv at

From that, guitarist Masami Kawaguchi shows up here on #2
and #6, cool broken fingers on the frets. But Higuchi and
her power-gargled, nasal-flaringhell bent laments over
polished piano (its pedals are less ephemeral) are the
the supreme focus. Drums attack her, and she slings them
off. She sings in English some of the time, Japanese too
and the rest…maybe it’s Klingon? Or Martian, but from
the rough side of the red spot. Plus she’s either occupied
by multiple spirits or perhaps multitracked, but I the
listener was definitely outnumbered, even in the quieter
moments. The mandatory cover of “My Funny Valentine” is
about as straight as this album gets, but it still features
plenty of menace. Great use of dynamics throughout, and an
excellent surprise from the Utech label. How her stiletto
heel tore off my ear lobe while listening, I still don’t know.
-Thurston Hunger

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