This tantalizing duo between Mats Gustafsson and Sabu Toyozumi was recorded at two live concerts in Chiba, Japan in 2018. Probably most listeners are familiar with the Swedish saxophonist from his avantgarage trio The Thing with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love and dozens of other ensembles including Fire! Orchestra, The End, and Cuts with Masami Akita aka Merzbow, and Balazs Pandí, to name but a few.
Hokusai is available in LP with three lengthy tracks or CD with the inclusion of an additional solo performance by Gustafsson and Toyozumi. The three duos presented open with "Sunflower," a piece that enters stealthily enough with barely perceptible baritone saxophone breath and minimal percussive pulse. The spell is broken by the cluck and pop of Gustafsson's saxophone and his vocalizations. Toyozumi follows with his stop-start attack which converts into a jagged blast of energy. The pair work a quiet/loud/quiet approach to great effect, drawing you in then jolting you out. "Woman With A Cat" finds Gustafsson hoisting both fluteophone and flute. The interaction rotates around the music's tension and release of energy, Toyozumi as tour director here. The music next presents a solo by each performer. Gustafsson returns to the baritone saxophone, applying minimalist sounds incorporating breathy passages, pops, cluck and his vocalizations. Toyozumi's solo relies on space, utilizing quiet as much as pulse here. The pair reunite for the 20+ minute "For Ever-Advancing Artistry." Their music finds a meeting of the minds here, with any hesitation that might have been perceived on the previous interactions dissolved. The finale is a sweat drenched, leave-it-all-on-the- bandstand improvisation.
Sunflower; Woman with A Cat; Manga By Hokusai; Red View Of Mt. Fuji; For Ever-Advancing Artistry.
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