Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tatsuya Nakatani & Peter Kowald - 13 Definitions of Truth

13 Definitions of Truth
Locust 2003


First new post for a while and with fewer words than usual. Still, this one’s certainly worth a listen – Kowalds droning bass and Nakatani’s tribal percussion makes me think of ancient rituals, lost in time – the kind of open-endedness I enjoy when listening to all this free improv stuff.

Tension is high. Track 2 treads carefully, making sure not to wake the sleeping giant as portrayed by the breathing sounds of the almost snoring bass. Next there’s the gentle patter of light rain or the consistent dripping of running water, followed by a flurry, a bell, panic then calm, tension and release.

The impressive relationship between the two improvisers wonderfully comes across in their synchronised ability to maintain that tension, which is wound tight and strong, before beautifully releasing everything a flurry of dissonant sounds. The approach made me think of a ship adrift in a ferocious sea, creaking, rolling, thrown from side to side – running between cabins attempting to hold on as waves break against the side, flooding the deck until calm – the aftermath – a new dawn, a strange new world, a brave new world.

Track 9 builds into a heavy wall of sound before tapering off into the distance, leaving the bass alone, swirling and rumbling into the last track with its deep and rich, meditative chanting and the constant sound of bells – in what can probably be described as Kowald actually carving the air with his bass – in what is by far the best track on the album. A mini masterpiece in itself – the end of the road, the path to truth, nirvana, enlightenment – and an overwhelming blast of noise.


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