RHODRI DAVIES / KO ISHIKAWA – Compositions For Harp And Sho


The fact that we have by now grown used to what we once defined “reductionism” should not detract from the pleasure that we still can experience by listening to fine examples of such kind of music. Davies and Ishikawa tackle four composers (Taku Sugimoto, Masahiko Okura, Antoine Beuger and Toshiya Tsunoda) who, one way or another, allow for a lot of space between the “notes”, which the players produce either respecting the properties of their instruments or, in the case of Rhodri Davies, approaching them with eBows and similar devices to elicit sustained vibrations of the strings. The absorption of the linear components of pieces like Sugimoto’s “Aka to Ao” comes quite easily, as by depauperating the music of gestural abundance and excess of movement we’re left to enjoy transparent relationships founded on the comprehension of the basic sonic essence per se, often including what leaks through the recording during the long periods of instrumental inactivity (the distant hum of outside cars during the splendid Beuger track being just an example). The only digression from the general canon of this disc is Tsunoda’s piece, which juxtaposes sinewaves to the sounds of harp and sho, the whole filtered by a gate device that transforms the composition into a sequence of hiccuping alien phenomena and prolonged dissonant ejections which, if played at a high volume, cause uncommon interactions of the ears with the environment, depending on the position we’re in. Essential in its logic and played with connected concentration, this record is a serious proposition by two authorized explorers of the untold.


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