Born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1993, pianist Fumi Endo has been performing since 2017, mainly playing jazz and improv. Although she played piano on three albums released in 2022Musical Procedure (Ftarr Classical, 2022) with Takumi Ikeda on electric percussion and Kokichi Yanagisawa on electric guitar, Toy-Piano Sokubaikai (Zappak, 2022) a duo with Suzueri on toy piano, and Masahide Tokunaga (Hitorri, 2022) with Tokumaga on alto sax and Tomoki Tai on viola de gambaCold Light In Warm Blue is the first album to feature her alone and the first to bear her name. In the concert space at Ftarri, Tokyo, on two separate days, in July and August 2022, neither with an audience, Endo recorded improvised solo performances of her playing Ftarri's piano, an old '60s upright in a non-soundproofed room. While that may sound a far from ideal situation, Endo clearly rose to the occasion as the resulting five tracks which comprise the album illustrate. Each track is titled with its duration, a total of fifty-four minutes. On first acquaintance with Endo's improvised piano pieces, the immediate impression is that she shares some characteristics with the German-based Wandelweiser group. Straight from the beginning of the first piece "(13:59)," she plays single notes which are allowed to resound until they fade into silence before sounding the next note. As an opening gambit, it nails her colours to the mast, but it soon becomes clear that she is not going to be dogmatic about what she plays. She does not shy away from playing two notes in quick succession and allowing them to interact and fade together, not always with predictable results. Of course, improvising freely by oneself removes the influence of other players and what they are playing, constantly leaving the lone player to decide how they wish to sound and develop. It is to Endo's credit that her playing never makes one aware of her thought processes; instead, the ways in which her improvised playing develops sound natural and logical. This means that her music can either be taken for granted as pleasingly soothing ambient music or, for those who wish, can lead to anticipation of what will happen next... Either way, Endo has produced a solo album which is uniquely her own, one which leads to anticipation of where she will go next...
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