366

Minamo: Kuroi Kawa - Black River

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Minamo: Kuroi Kawa - Black River Minamo, the fiercely creative duo comprising violinist Carla Kihlstedt and pianist Satoko Fujii, has done it again. This time, the duo comes together on Kuroi Kawa - Black River, a magnificent two-CD presentation: the first, a studio set of eighteen short improvised studies of sublime ingenuity; the second, a live performance recorded at the 2008 Vancouver International Festival, featuring longer improvisations first heard on their self-titled 2008 debut, but now completely recast and newly interpreted. Minamo's musical creations echoes with slender beauty and silken elegance. It is almost as if Kihlstedt and Fujii channel Paul Bley and Anton VonWebern together, making a foaming decoction of pure Minamo.

Carla Kihlstedt and Satoko Fujii are singular musical personalities who see two sides of an idea at once. Thus, they are able to create the impression of music that is constantly changing—moving this way and that—even as it travels in a linear manner, like individual melodies running alongside a mirror that constantly turns convex and then concave. "Konoha No Sasayaki - The Murmur of Leaves" is a fine example of the beguiling magic that the two create between one another. It is like a call-and-response, with phrases that turn inside out every time they are exchanged. "Yume No Naka - In The Dream," on the other hand, is more finite; it's a linear, almost mystical early morning dreamscape that forms in dewdrops on piano and violin. Kihlstedt and Fujii create sixteen more sketches that virtually recreate the language of violin-piano duets with a new, highly organic musical metaphor.

The live disc features more lengthy compositions. While length is not necessarily a factor in the veracity or majesty of their improvisations, the musicians use the concert stage to create more theatrical developments. Here, the double album's title track—a dramatic, almost visual piece—turns from an explosive opening to a winding middle section and rhapsodic end. "Midori No Shinkiro - Green Mirage" evolves from a gusty beginning into a shimmering middle passage and then into an elementally sad ending. As the musicians open their minds and use the time to create more expansive vistas, their canvas broadens, and impressions of Stravinsky and Bartók make their way into the conundrum of ideas. The subsequent music is riveting and almost as taut as the strings of piano and violin will endure. It is also fresh, daring, and memorable from one unexpected turn of phrase to the next.

Despite the ultimately finite nature of the program, something nebulous about the music suggests that this is a journey of epic proportions. Somehow, therefore, the expectation is that this is a legend without end and will soon be continued with fresh genius.


Track Listing: CD1: Konoha No Sasayaki -The Murmur of Leaves; Kogane Mushi -Scarab; To Ho - East; Rakuda - Camel; Mado Wo Akeru - Open The Window; Eki Deno Ichi Nichi - One Day at the Station; Suiheisen - Between Sky And Water; Koneko - Kitty; Kagami - Mirror; Kibo - Hope; Tsuchi No Naka - In The Ground; Sora No Naka - In The Sky; Arabesque; Maho No Jyutan - Magic Carpet; Amadare - Raindrop; Yume No Naka - In The Dream; Kamikazari - Berette; Chiheisen - Sky And Land. CD2: Kuroi Kawa - Black River; Aoi Saka - Blue Slope; Murasaki No Natsu - Purple Summer; Akai Kaze - Red Wind; Midori No Shinkiro - Green Mirage; Shropi Arashi - White Storm.

Personnel: Carla Kihlstedt: violin, trumpet violin, voice; Satoko Fujii: piano, accordion, voice.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Tzadik | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Oakland/Lisboa" CD/LP/Track Review Oakland/Lisboa
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Shovel Down" CD/LP/Track Review Shovel Down
by Doug Collette
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Conditions" CD/LP/Track Review Conditions
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Concentric Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Concentric Circles
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "Wolf Valley" CD/LP/Track Review Wolf Valley
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 18, 2016
Read "Moanin'" CD/LP/Track Review Moanin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!