home » cd catalogue » S. Fujii & Otomo Y. - Perpetual Motion » Mike Jurkovic, AllAboutJazz

S. Fujii & Otomo Y. - Perpetual Motion

Mike Jurkovic, AllAboutJazz


Space may be the final frontier for some, but for pianist Satoko Fujii and guitarist Otomo Yoshihide its inner and outer most reaches, string theories, bosons, black holes and wormholes have provided a veritable playground, an infinite source of daring and inspiration.

So one might wonder why it took these two mainstays of the Japanese avant-garde nearly thirty years (and well over one hundred and fifty albums between them) to take the stage together in January 2022 at one of Tokyo's most prestigious jazz clubs, the Pit Inn. Terra-forming in scope, Perpetual Motion is the rich culmination of that event.

Performed as one whole conceptual piece (the titles were added post-production), "Perpetual Motion I" opens like a cutting-room soundtrack alternative to Stanley Kubrick's epic 2001: A Space Odyssey before morphing with its own rationale through multi-dimensional latitudes with seismic grace. Fujii employs the whole piano, its wood, its bare strings, its operatic cannonade and tranquil lilt, to embolden a barely controlled Yoshihide as he charges, chugs, sustains, pummels and caresses his avalanche of into fits of feedback and angular distortion.

As compelling as it is challenging, "Perpetual Motion II" doesn't harbor long in the contemplative state it starts life in. Never at a standstill, Yoshihide's Morse code gives slant to one of Fujii's more classically tinged passages, before segueing back to the guitarist's extended tornado of feedback and contorted sonic structures. "Perpetual Motion III" temporarily slows the pace before Yoshihide's percussive chords turn the tables. Hurtling from cadence to cadence "Perpetual Motion IV" dramatically sustains a telepathic call and response resulting in a mayhem born of integrity, virtuosity and respect, resulting in a music at once unsettling, yet strangely agreeable.