S. Fujii & Otomo Y. - Perpetual Motion

Ken Waxman, JazzWord


Unlike the near-compositional shaping of her 100th CD, "Hyaku One Hundred Dreams", her 101st, "Perpetual Motion" – a first-time meeting between Fujii and another Japanese polymath, guitarist Otomo Yoshihide for a four-part improvisation – is just that. It’s an timbral exercise from Fujii and Yoshihide to collate as many aleatoric or improvised elements as they can. The object of pure improvisation, ideally association results from experiment and chance as much as skill. With effects pedals and connected gizmos at a minimum, the guitarist plinks, plucks and buzzes tones from his strings, only occasionally introducing Rock-like flanges and knob-twisting amplifications. For her part, the pianist initially confines herself to hushed keyboard click and internal string strums. But as this live duet evolves logical symmetry is expressed, often with tension-release. Should the two reach balladic interface, as on “Perpetual Motion II”, then thicker strains with pedal point key pressure and vibrating guitar string strokes intensify the exposition until Yoshihide reaches full arena-Rock showiness. Like a Chinese spy balloon that stance is quickly punctured with singular keyboard jabs, whose calming patterns rights the narrative. Still this regularized piano expression lasts only as long as it takes the guitarist to use vibrating amp drones so that Fujii ends up answering his twangs with near boogie piano and hard keyboard echoes. Both tough and tender pivots are expressed on the concluding “Perpetual Motion IV”. Linear piano patterns move from single note emphasis to full keyboard pounding accompanied by implements rolling on the internal strings. Simultaneously the guitarist too moves from single notes to pointed pressure that has him vibrating the strings into strident and whistling hums. Finally low pitches from both meet and fade.