京極流箏曲 新春譜

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EM Record's release of little known koto auteur Kōhei Amada continues the label's tireless mapping of multi-hued human expression, sitting outside genre convention and confusing record store clerks everywhere. "Shinshunfu" is sectioned into two parts: a more recognizable duet between koto and Irish harp, and a complete 180 into an elongated vocal piece repellent with droning shō and taiko drum bass hits. This concoction brings up familiar scents: Lou Harrison's small ensemble harp pieces, or a Japanese recasting of the Medieval troubadour songs performed by transcultural-minded early music groups like Studio der frühen Musik or Hespèrion XXI. Yet these comparisons are merely abstract, "Shinshunfu" exists at a crossroads, a form both distinctly Japanese and distinctly "other", a complex blend of folk strains that is deep with emotional resonance and hard to place even for aficionados of Japanese traditional music.

Sugai Ken's rework renders the source material almost unrecognizable, pushing even further in the non-deterministic, GRM-like meta-concrète direction of his recent work, jump-cutting in high definition between synthetic birdsong, haunted vocoded voice and arresting, back-of-the-head foley. Of "Shinshunfu", only the drone of the shō and the occasional taiko hit appear in plain view. The exploration sits comfortably in the idiosyncratic sound world that Ken has been prolifically constructing for himself in the last few years (what he has come to call "Japanese electronic-folklore"), just as brilliant as one would expect. (Spencer Doran/Visible Cloaks)



This product was added to our catalog on Monday 18 March, 2019.

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