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S. Fujii & Otomo Y. - Perpetual Motion

Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery


This set was recorded live at the Pit Inn in Shinjuku, Tokyo in Japan in January of 2022. Satoko Fujii is an amazing pianist, composer and multi-bandleader who recently released her 100th (!) disc. Although she has done solos, duos, trios, quartets on up to several large ensembles, she loves the challenge of working with someone she worked with before. On this disc Ms. Fujii plays a rare concert performance with an another immensely creative music, Otomo Yoshihide, who often switches between guitar, turntables and samplers, depending on the situation. Mr. Yoshihide is equally prolific and diverse as far as the numerous types of music he works with: solo guitar, jazz quintet & large unit, onkyo (lower case), noise, rock, soundtrack work and improv with a large amount of unlikely suspects. This set is/was the first time that these two musicians played together.
The first thing I noticed is how well this disc is recorded, clean, warm and superbly balanced. Both of these musicians are master improvisers and they take their time to create mesmerizing sounds or textures. I know that Ms. Fujii uses an ebow to coax drones from the strings inside the piano. We can hear this buzz or hum here while Otomo also rubs or bows his guitar strings. The overall sound is most enchanting, eerie, subtle and slowly builds into some more intense waves. Otomo never or rarely seems bound by any one genre or style hence, his guitar playing is often in between our expectations. Fragments of rock, free music, prog, noise and quiet music are all within his sound/reach. Ms. Fujii is a perfect foil or partner, often adding her own in-between-the cracks sounds as well. There are moments of great beauty here as well as some occasional noisy bits. Yet, everything flows together like a canoe on a fresh stream or a school of fish sailing through the water currents in a school. This is Free Improv at its very best.