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S. Fujii & Otomo Y. - Perpetual Motion

Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts


To call Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and guitarist-turntablist-sound artist Otomo Yoshihide prolific artists would be an understatement. Both Fujii and Yoshihide are versatile and influential master musicians-composers who refuse to surrender to genre or style boundaries. She plays and composes music for modern and free jazz outfits but also for fusion and big bands, and always challenges her compositional strategies. He plays free music, flirts with minimalism, sound art and modern jazz and free improvisation and composes music for films and is an activist for the benefit of his hometown Fukushima. Both Fujii and Yoshihide have monumental discographies and have cultivated a faithful community of musicians who collaborate with them over the years.

Fujii and Yoshihide have known each other but had never played together until Fujii invited him to her, and her partner trumpeter Natsuki Tamura’s music marathon they curate each January at Pit Inn, one of Tokyo’s most prestigious jazz clubs in 2022. This exciting first-ever performance became their first recording together. The mutual appreciation, immediate chemistry and sonic imagination are there from its first to the last second and drive this intriguing and masterful journey in an uncompromising, full of surprising Perpetual Motion.

Fujii and Yoshihide are kind of sonic forces of nature who constantly shake the musical ground of each other. Fujii turns the inside of her piano into an otherworldly, orchestral sonic generator while Yoshihide’s guitar injects cinematic tension into their dynamics. But Fujii and Yoshihide explore more sonic terrains, shapeshifting and negotiating this deep listening meeting into intense but abstract and impressionist textures, dramatic and colossal, noisy and feedback-laden walls of sound, dense rhythmic collisions or puzzling, melodic and contemplative segments, with great focus on detail, all the way towards the peaceful, most beautiful coda. Fujii and Yoshihide often fuse their notes into a single rich tone or simply and gently contrast the other’s ideas, always with a virtuoso, almost telepathic display of both subtle and powerful energy. Their music never rests and restlessly stimulates Fujii and Yoshihde to search for new sonic frontiers.

Perpetual Motion is one of the rare, magnificent performances that any true lover of music would have surrendered fortunes just to be there and experience this inspiring meeting of two great masters of free music.