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Trouble Kaze: June

Dan McClenaghan By

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Avant-garde pianist/composer Satoko Fujii augments her quartet, Kaze, with an additional piano and another drummer, to create Trouble Kaze, for the release of June.

In Fujii's eighty-plus CD discography, Kaze can be counted as one of her most adventurous modes of artistic expression. With trumpeters Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost working an array of extended techniques to push the limits of their instruments to the maximum; with Fujii's prepared and inside-the-piano ministrations, and the often explosive drumming from Peter Orins—matched by Fujii on her "outside the piano" detonations—give the group's three CD offerings—Rafale (2011); Tornado (2013); and Uminari(2015), all on Libra Records—a wildly tumultuous sound, calamity lurking around every corner.

The addition to the group of pianist Sophie Agnel and drummer Didier Lasserre creates Trouble Kaze. Turning a quartet into a sextet would seem to give the sound an increased potential for tumultuousness. But it didn't happen that way with June, though there are definitely moments that lean into that direction. "Part III" of this five part "noise suite" careens into sonic mayhem; but elsewhere the sound is quite subdued, intricate, nuanced, even minimalist.

A heads up is in order: It's a stretch to call the bulk of this sonic adventure music, and an appreciation of June will depend on a willingness to submit to the experience of, simply, noise—always a part of Fujii's artistry, but more so here. And sometimes—in a segment of "Part IV"—the noise is so soft and low volume that it is almost beneath the level of conscious perception. Close attention is recommended.

These sounds have a sense of mystery, a sense of wonder, with small musical interludes interspersed with sparse everyday life rumblings and muted squawlings: "Part V" with a baby crying softly (or is it a ducking; though the sound is almost certainly created by a trumpet) in a distant room juxtaposed with a scary movie soundtrack bumping and clattering in an ominous reverberance in another room. Then in a closer room, a subdued smoke alarm (tired batteries?) goes off, as you stand in a dark hallway and wonder what is happening here.

Track Listing: Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V.

Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Christian Pruvost: trumpet; Sophie Agnel: piano; Satoko Fujii: piano; Didier Lasserre: drums; Peter Orins: drums.

Title: June | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Circum-Disc


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