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CD Feature/ Signal Quintet: "Yamaguchi"

img  Tobias

Metallic sounds, coming up slowly and ever gaining in loudness. A double bass, feeding anti-electronic impulses, almost cosmic radio sounds, like listening to pre 1960’s satellite messages. To understand this type of music you have three choices: Either to listen without any information or going – at least partially - into the depths of the musicians' personal biographies - or both. I will do the latter. First, therefore, some basic information.

Jason Kahn is the founder of the group, and he has made a name for himself with the innovative use of analog synthesizers and percussions. Being the driving force, he also wrote what some will call “extreme avantgarde” music, which finally culminated in this publication. What is extremely interesting is the pairing of a double bass with almost exclusively electronic music – disregarding a very short-timed appearance of a guitar, played in a rocky style. This combination alone makes for an fascinating appearance, but it is both contradicted and still added to by the percussions of Günther Müller. He uses a self invented system on his drums, that allows him to intuitively morph his performance into electronic sounds by hand. And he indeed makes full use of his invention on this CD.

The work comes to us in three parts, consequently called ‘One’, ‘Two’, and ‘Three’. While ‘One’ and ‘Three’ are similar in nature, varying the compositions with sounds swelling up in loudness, only to fade away again, I consider piece ‘Two’ as the center of this production. (Yeah, it indeed is placed in the middle!!) Here, everything works up to a certain climax, the radio and satellite sounds grow on the fertile ground of the noisy, metallic background, while the bass keeps the steady rhythm. This culminates in an ecstasy, a musical frenzy that can be called an extraordinary experience. In this case, the alternating sound levels make sense, there is a feeling of gratitude. The listener can indulge in a sound bath that really tantalizes the nerves of new borders. A great piece of contemporary music.

Although parts ‘One’ and ‘Three’ of this album sure come up with interesting sounds, in my opinion they can not quite match what happens in part ‘Two’. I don’t know whether this was possibly intentionally part of the big picture. If so, the first and third movement stand as counterparts of what really matters. But I couldn’t make any direct sense of it in the very context of the music. Maybe I missed a part, and if that happened, I’d gladly like to be corrected.

Which should not take anything away from the big picture. I think this CD is more than worth your time. The centerpiece stands out as an icon of modern music. I love it, and I hope you’ll love it, too.

By Fred M. Wheeler

Homepage: Cut Records

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