3

Cristián Alvear, Seijiro Murayama: Karoujite

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Cristián Alvear, Seijiro Murayama: Karoujite 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 The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read My Head Is Listening CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Passin' Thru CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Ugly Beauty CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet CD/LP/Track Review Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "No Favorites!" CD/LP/Track Review No Favorites!
by Troy Collins
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "El Viaje" CD/LP/Track Review El Viaje
by James Nadal
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Disappearing Day" CD/LP/Track Review Disappearing Day
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "The Dead Man" CD/LP/Track Review The Dead Man
by James Nadal
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "New Life" CD/LP/Track Review New Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Celestial Blues: Cosmic, Political and Spiritual Jazz 1970 to 1974" CD/LP/Track Review Celestial Blues: Cosmic, Political and Spiritual Jazz 1970...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 4, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!