3

Cristián Alvear, Seijiro Murayama: Karoujite

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Before coming together in this duo, the Chilean acoustic guitarist Cristián Alvear and the Japanese percussionist Seijiro Murayama were both well-established Potlatch artists. Alvear has built a reputation as a performer of compositions by Wandelweiser members such as Jürg Frey and Antoine Beuger, as exemplified by his fine album of Michael Pisaro pieces Melody, Silence (Potlatch, 2015). Seijiro is represented on the label by a pair of 2011 duo albums alongside French improvising saxophonists, Window Dressing with Jean-Luc Guionnet and Axiom for the Duration with Stéphane Rives.

However, knowledge or experience of the pair's previous releases is unlikely to fully prepare anyone for what they will hear on Karoujite. The album title (which translates from Japanese as "scarcely") and its cover (which repeats one small photograph of the musicians again and again) may be intended to drop hints about the content. The album has three tracks, running for just over forty-one minutes. Recorded in Mishima, Japan, in October 2016. they are titled "À Peine 1, 2 & 3," which indicates that they should be considered as parts of a greater whole. With reassuring consistency, "à peine" translates from French as "scarcely," which is fitting as the word applies to several aspects of the duo's music on the album.

So, for extended periods the playing features much repetition, meaning it scarcely develops or changes. The repetition does not resemble that produced by a tape loop or loop pedal, but sounds far more human and less metronomic or robotic. As Alvear plucks the same note over and over, there are slight differences in his timing and attack that are scarcely detectable. Behind him, Seijiro's subtle percussive scrapes on cymbals are just varied enough to prevent the music sounding static, but are totally in keeping with the guitar's repetitions. Neither guitar nor percussion would stand alone, but together they work well.

This is not music that can "just be on"; it needs to be given full attention to be properly appreciated. When time and attention are invested in it, the music handsomely repays the investment, giving a great deal back and revealing ever more subtle detail with each listen. The three tracks have elements in common but are distinctly different enough to be individually identifiable. Together they combine to create a listening environment that is by turns engaging and mesmerising.

Track Listing: À Peine 1 ; À Peine 2 ; À Peine 3.

Personnel: Cristián Alvear: acoustic guitar; Seijiro Murayama: percussion.

Title: Karoujite | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Potlatch Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read The Princess CD/LP/Track Review The Princess
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Latin Lover CD/LP/Track Review Latin Lover
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Reclamation CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Rabble Rouser" CD/LP/Track Review Rabble Rouser
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "The Eleventet - Please Call" CD/LP/Track Review The Eleventet - Please Call
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Rock Pool Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Rock Pool Mirror
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "In Transit" CD/LP/Track Review In Transit
by Kris Perdew
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Songbook" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 14, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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

Please support out sponsor