Album Review

Higuchi, Keiko / Morishige, Yasumune – “Awai” – [Improvising Beings]

Thurston Hunger   10/1/2015   CD, Jazz

Eight duets of voice and cello, of woman and man. Hints of the
otherworldly, is Keiko channeling spirits, or under vocal
possession? Is Yasumune a shaman, at times his cello slithers as
it he were a snake charmer, more than an askew angle bower. The
short titles and the simple configuration (all acoustic)
belie the complexity of the music. Both musicians get a
“throaty” rasp at times, though Yasumune lacks a mouth, he’s
clearly got ears and seems to be taking cues from the
spring of sounds, squeaky to shrieky and never afraid to be
a bit freaky. In reviewing her work on Utech, I felt the
ghost of Diamanda Galas being summoned (I know she’s still
alive, but isn’t she still a ghost from 1800’s Lousiana?)
Again Keiko hits those shadows, but there’s also a feeling
of Japanese ceremonial music. Speaking of echoes, does
Yasumune quote a Charlie Haden piece briefly on “Calls”?
He’s really good at supporting the gyrations of Keiko,
perhaps helped by his other job playing bass in
Fushitsusha? Actually a solo record of Yasumune would
be pretty amazing… There’s not much to hold on to
hear in terms of structure, but improvising beings are
definitely at play! -Thurston Hunger

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