287

First Meeting: Cut the Rope

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
First Meeting: Cut the Rope Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura creates a vast expanse of sound on Cut the Rope, the first album recorded with his band First Meeting. Nothing is predictable on this wholly improvised album that ranges from aspects of a vision of being marooned on a desolate soundscape to the musicians ultimately finding their way into a melodic river of sound, after at first coming perilously close to losing all sense of direction. But Tamura is an expert guide: he wields his horn like a sonic standard bearer, guiding his improvising crew from opening figure to group improvisation and back to a resolution, despite traversing some of the most varied paths in song.

Tamura bleats, howls and snorts his way through dune-like structures, disturbed only by the drone of guitarist Kelly Churko's incessant scratching and wild ramblings via acoustic feedback and pedals of every kind. In the absence of a bassist to anchor the expedition, drummer Tatsuhisa Yamamoto devises various signature rattling figures on snare drum and tom-toms, allowing only so much chaos to enter the proceedings as to create just a ripple—not enough to detract completely from the organized chaos of the track. Tamura's wife, pianist Satoko Fujii, completes the quartet, providing oblique angles to each piece.

On the title track, Fujii uses a prepared form of the instrument, manipulating strings and pedals to create a shimmering resonance that allows the track to swing tremulously, as the rest of the musicians soar unfettered to improvise and fantasize. On "Headwaters" Fujii plays a fanciful folksy figure almost throughout, anchoring the piece in a bleak, yet peaceful place, so the musicians are forever guided by the myth of tradition. Churko sets fire to "Flashback" with hot slashes, while Tamura seemingly fans the flames of the proceeding elements. Fujii, once again, appears to play an anchoring role harmonically, as Yamamoto's rhythmic invention calls for him to join the improvisation as well. "Kaleidoscope" possesses a swirling structure, with Churko drawing from folk melodies, as Tamura and Fujii reference everything from the diatonic rambling of warrior bugling, and the suggested serialism of Schoenberg, to the shattering figures reminiscent of Stockhausen and Boulez. Tamura brings this exciting set to a close with "Sublimation," but not before stirring the still waters enough to create a generous ripple, into which all the other musicians dive ostensibly on cue.

The is a short, eventful set expertly construed by Tamura, where brilliant sound collages are erected with architectural expertise and a subtle elegance. Fujii, Yamamoto and Churko contribute more than simply color; their ideas are integral to the collisions that ensue, when four improvising musicians meet with heads full of suggestions for a sonic journey full of surprises.

Track Listing: Cut the Rope; Headwaters; Flashback; Kaleidoscopic; Sublimation.

Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Satoko Fujii: piano; Kelly Churko: guitar; Tatsuhisa Yamamoto: drums.

Title: Cut the Rope | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Libra Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Nax by Alberto Bazzurro
  • DuDu by Hrayr Attarian
  • DuDu by John Sharpe
  • DuDu by Dan McClenaghan
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Muku by Dave Wayne
  • Muku by Dan McClenaghan
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Live in Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Concert
by David Becker
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Adam's Apple" CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs" CD/LP/Track Review Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs
by John Eyles
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Christmastime in New Orleans" CD/LP/Track Review Christmastime in New Orleans
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Perch Hen Brock & Rain/Live @ The Jazz Happening Tampere" CD/LP/Track Review Perch Hen Brock & Rain/Live @ The Jazz Happening Tampere
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Back In Your Own Backyard" CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.