Satoko Fujii: Aspiration

Franz A. Matzner By

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A descent into minimalist precision and emotive texture, Satoku Fuji's Aspiration bequeaths listeners with the depths of creativity that stems from residing on the edge of the avant-garde for decades. Which is precisely where music pioneers pianist Fuji, long-time trumpet partner Natsuki Tamura, electronica experimentalist Ikue Mori, and innovator Wadada Leo Smith remain.

The album's six pulsating compositions are the result of the collaboration between these four artists as conceived by Fuji, but were born out of the participants parallel forays into the frontiers of creative music and the shared ground developed as their paths inevitably crossed over the years.

From the album's first track "Intent" to the closing "Stillness," each performer's distinct voice is evident, just as one can identify aspects of each players approach as a composer. Yet despite these identifiable elements, the combined sonic texture ultimately produced emerges with a singular clarity, like crystalline structures arrayed against a backdrop of electronic seascapes.

One distinctive feature of the album is the lugubrious pace at which the compositions unfold. Fostered by Mori's soundscapes and textural infusions, which have antecedents in the minimalist world of electronica developed by artists like Main and Aphex Twin, the album floats in an ethereal otherworldliness, with Tamura, Fuji, and Smith's explosive interjections, patient lines, and pointalistic eruptions manifesting like neon lightening in a tumultuous, darkened sky.

Overall, the endeavor forces hyper-close listening which is rewarded by being transported into a multi-layered universe of sound, one best absorbed by allowing it to permeate, rather than attempting to analyze its many contours, oblique declines, rarified atmospheres, and variegated gravitational fields.

Track Listing: Intent; Liberation; Floating; Aspiration; Evolution; Stillness.

Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Satoko Fujii: piano; Ikue Mori: electronics.

Title: Aspiration | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Libra Records

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