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Net Feature/ Richard Chartier/Sawako/Shinjiro Yamaguchi: "November 9, 2007"

img  Tobias
While Taylor Deupree is openly debating closing Term down in a bid to fight the gradual devaluation of music because of its widespread free availability, the music on 12K’s online sister label is making that possible closure seem increasingly like a swod of Damocles. “November 9, 2007” (take a wild guess at the title’s meaning!) is yet another tactile live document and follows in the footsteps of Steve Roden’s more withdrawn but equally adrenalin-driven “Amnesia”.

On the other hand, it is easy to understand Deupree’s frustration. “November 9,.2007” may be a concert registration with all the rough edges and tiny production-blemishes that come with a direct-to-DAT performance.  Its lineup and musical content should easily justify a visit to your local independent record store however, featuring a stage collaboration between Richard Chartier and two major talents of Japan’s bustling soundart scene: Sawako and Shinjiro Yamaguchi.

This pairing already makes for a great combination on paper, the spatial explorations of Chartier meeting the emotional landscapes of Sawako and the Post-Post-Rock fantasies of Yamaguchi. As their synergetic rumblings unfold, however, the trio reaches a plateau of common understanding that is much more than a head-on collision of their indivisual styles.

From a glistening and rustling, lighfilled and open introduction full of processed field recordings in search of harmonic direction, a warm and shining drone rises to the fore like the sun at dawn, while more and more bleeping and whispering noises winkingly awaken from their slumber. As the drone subsides, the darker side takes over again, as the piece enters a cavernous bassin of muffled cries and muted screams, before finally coming to peace again in the final minutes, as the soft cloud of overtones returns and brings things to a consoling climax.

Recorded at the Atlantic Waves Festival in London, this is a pure improvisational piece, yet it shows that  the latter term has always been a quasi-equivalent spontaneous composition. It is as if Chartier, Sawako and Yamaguchi had agreed to a wordless concept at the outset, related to portraying various moods within the cycle of a single day. There is a distinct sensation of development, the feeling that one has lived through a particular episode with the musicians, before dusk hits the land and the moon lights up the night sky.

With its fairy-tale ambiance and its surprising happy end, “November 9, 2007” is a piece full of hope, which sticks out from the sombre, clinically abstract or formulaic emmissions of some of its colleagues. Whether or not one should pay to listen to it, is a complex question, which can not be answered within the limited space of a review. But one should never take a release like this for granted. As long as Term is still out there, treat this little treasure by Chartier, Sawako and  Shinjiro Yamaguchi as what it really is: A present.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Richard Chartier
Homepage: Sawako
Homepage: Shinjiro Yamaguchi
Homepage: 12K/Term

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