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På skive


LIBRA, 201-056

«What music will we hear for the first time when our ears can no longer hear?» asked Japanese composer-pianist Satoko Fujii herself, soon after her grandmother lost her hearing and became deaf but insisted that she could hear «beautiful music the likes of which I never heard before». «Stone» attempts to imagine and hopefully make sense of such music.

«Stone» is Fujii’s fifth solo piano, recorded in two sessions in New York, in September and December 2018 and released after the highly acclaimed 12-discs ranreki (60th celebration) of 2018. It suggests a totally different conceptual approach from previous solo albums, sound-based and spontaneously improvised.

Inspired by the words of her grandmother, Fujii focused on the entire wooden body of the piano as a sound generator, and kept following the cryptic sounds while improvising on fragile and elusive textures and fleeting melodies. Obviously, she has employed her array of extended, inside-the-piano techniques and prepared piano extensions but deliberately refused to apply any of her compositional strategies.

The 15 pieces, all titled after stones and minerals, offer distinct experiments that aim at expanding the sonic range of the piano and somehow manages to sketch a loose but organic narrative. Fujii brushes the piano wires on «Obsius» and creates an elliptical flow of gentle ripples. «Trachyte» sounds like an electric tone-poem, highly resonant but quite meditative. «Biotite» deepens even further this approach and the piano strings ring as if they were made of marbles. «Shale» and «phonolite» adopt exotic pulses, one mysterious and ceremonial while the latter abstract and sparse. The prepared piano of «Lava» refers to early experiments of John Cage, where sound and silence had an equal importance. «Piemontite Schist» surprises with its tensed, cinematic qualities. «Ice Waterfall» captures the fleeting, flowing image of frozen water in sounds. The only composed piece here is the last one, «Eternity», a moving, lyrical melody by late double bass player Norikatsu Koreyasu, who played in Fujii’’s Ma-do quartet.

Eyal Hareuveni

Satoko Fujii (p)

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