Sunday, December 23, 2007

Toshio Hosokawa/Gagaku: Deep Silence


In spite of a kinda new-age title, a thick, tight, laser-focused record of ur-timbral drone-magic...maybe one of my favorite drone-oriented recordings ever. Awesome.

Toshio Hosokawa / Gagaku: DEEP SILENCE (Wergo Concept Series 68012)

Label description:

“Music,” says Toshio Hosokawa, “is the place where notes and silence meet.” This identifies his aesthetic concept as a genuinely Japanese one. It is found both in Japanese landscape painting and in the music, such as the courtly gagaku, in which audible sound always stands in relation to nonsound, i.e. to silence. In their rhythmic proportions Hosokawa's compositions are oriented around the breathing methods of Zen meditation, with their very slow breathing in and very slow breathing out: “Each breath contains life and death, death and life.”
Mayumi Miyata (sho – the instrument of the universe or of tradition) and Stefan Hussong (accordion – the human or contemporary instrument) are among the most important interpreters of Hosokawa's music, which here is framed by four traditional gagaku pieces.

Toshio Hosokawa:

1. Cloudscapes. Moon Night for sho and accordion
2. Sen V for accordion
3. Wie ein Atmen im Lichte for sho solo

Traditional Gagaku:

1. Banshikicho no choshi for accordion and sho
2. Oshikicho no choshi for sho solo
3. Hyojo no choshi for accordion solo
4. Ichikotsucho no choshi for accordion and sho