2

Masahiko Togashi & Masayuki Takayanagi: Pulsation

Nicola Negri By

Sign in to view read count
Masahiko Togashi & Masayuki Takayanagi: Pulsation
Virtually unnoticed in the West, the Japanese free jazz scene in the 1970s was bursting with creativity. The musicians shared a strong sense of adventure, as they welcomed the developments of creative music and free improvisation from USA and Europe while trying to find their own voice with a completely personal approach to improvised music. One of the main protagonists of that season was Masayuki Takayanagi, a strikingly original guitarist and musical thinker with a strong passion for both mainstream jazz and extreme noise. A generation younger but equally important was Masahiko Togashi, a drummer that, also due to an accident that forced him on a wheelchair after 1970, developed a unique approach to drums and percussions, using silence as an integral part of music making.

Originally released by Paddle Wheel in 1983, Pulsation documents a live concert at Zojoji Hall in Tokyo, and is the first record Togashi and Takayanagi made as a duo, even if they had worked together since the 1960s. The record is divided in two tracks ("Inner Pulsation" and "Outer Pulsation"), each one about 22 minutes in length, mirroring the original LP sides. The performance can be regarded as a single piece though, with a clearly symmetrical structure, even if the musicians cover much musical ground over the course of the album. The opening and closing sections are reserved to Togashi, that alternates between deeply resonating gongs and a relentless activity on the toms. Takayanagi enters the picture with sparse scratching sounds, slowly building an intense dialogue with the drummer, moving through a series of sections characterized by different approaches to both acoustic and electric guitars, with bowed strings, fast arpeggios, rumbling drones or heavily filtered electronic sounds, often opting to treat the guitar as an object to be manipulated more than a proper musical instrument. Throughout the performance Togashi tries different colors on the drum kit, adding bells, chains, shakers and tin cans, always returning to the toms in a mostly arhythmic percussive activity that maintains an intriguing, almost ritualistic dimension.

The extreme abstractness of the music guarantees many possibilities, but the main themes here are pure sound and space, investigated through a massive use of silence, ever-changing dynamics and slow structural developments unfolding with a mysterious musical logic. The improvisational process is always on full display, with the musicians constantly listening and responding to each other, and when the music opens up to more readable materials the effect is powerful: a few seconds of melodic statements from the guitar have the impact of a fully formed solo; a couple of minutes of insisting patterns on the drums achieves an almost hypnotic effect.

Track Listing

Inner Pulsation; Outer Pulsation.

Personnel

Masahiko Togashi: percussion; Masayuki Takayanagi: guitar.

Album information

Title: Pulsation | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: DIW

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

View events near Tokyo
Jazz Near Tokyo
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

More

Read Message from Groove and GW
Message from Groove and GW
The Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band
Read Hard Bop
Hard Bop
Eric Binder
Read Duos & Trios
Duos & Trios
Armaroli - Schiaffini - Sjostrom
Read How Can We Wake?
How Can We Wake?
Josephine Davies
Read Blue Has A Range
Blue Has A Range
Steve Cardenas
Read Then Now
Then Now
Rob Brown - Matthew Shipp
Read Human Dust Suite
Human Dust Suite
Miki Yamanaka
Read You're It!
You're It!
The Mike Melito/Dino Losito Quartet

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.