Another installment in the No Business Records series of unreleased Chap Chap label recordings licensed from Japan provides a fascinating glimpse of an unfamiliar soundworld. Prophecy Of Nue features the long lived group Ton-Klami live in concert in 1995. The band member best known in the West might be pianist Masahiko Satoh, who has recorded with reedmen Peter Brötzmann, Steve Lacy and Ned Rothenberg among others, but his colleagues percussionist Midori Takada and Korean saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan also merit attention.
The three lengthy improvisations are selections from a 90-minute performance and present the trio in a variety of guises. At the heart of the collaboration lies the contrast between the percussive sensibilities of Satoh and Takada versus the continuous outpourings of Hwan. The Korean demonstrates his mindboggling control of the overblown upper register in the first few minutes of the title track, as his other worldly alto whistle skates above an icy landscape of cymbal splashes and piano droplets. Bolstered by circular breathing his siren cry takes on an electronic quality, even as the accompaniment moves from processional to martial.
Some of the most exciting passages come as the intensity increases. Towards the end of the opener, Satoh and Hwan intermingle their twin unfurling lines, only for the pressure to grow yet further as Takada throws fuel on the fire. They conjure yet more high energy on "Incantation" through an exuberant combination of staccato yelping alto, flailing piano and taiko-like drum bursts.
Takada asserts her grace and elegance with a prancing marimba dance during "Manifestation," while Satoh ramps up the tension with one of those repeated figures which begs the questions: When will it stop? What happens then? The answer is an unexpected return to a delicate and mournful atmosphere of isolated sounds. That unpredictability sums up the attraction of this disc.
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