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Zoe
LP $28.25

08/16/2024 769791986442 

BE 1012 LP 


***With each release and performance over the last ten years, saxophonist Makoto Kawashima has continued to stake his claim as one of today's most captivating improvisers. Zoe is Kawashima's first ever studio album and his second with Black Editions. Recorded at Tokyo's storied GOK Sound, the album is one of the most beautiful and stark renderings of his voice to date. Over two side long excursions Kawashima's music springs to existence with striking clarity and power, yet remains rooted in the more obscure, spiritual realm from which all of his work seems to originate. Rather than let the studio smooth out the performances, Zoe is direct and unvarnished, the only adornment added being the ghostly, faint pre-echo of the reel to reel. Kawashima's elevation of an idiosyncratic solo practice places him squarely within the lineage of iconoclastic Japanese saxophonists such as Kaoru Abe, Tamio Shiraishi, and Masayushi Urabe. At the outer bounds of improvised music, Kawashima's work reveals a fragile spirit, one that gives as much emphasis to silence and minute sounds, perhaps hesitations, as it does to ecstatic bursts of tone and texture. His music is undeniably intimate and vulnerable, eschewing the bravado and bluster that have often become tropes in the world of solo improvisation; Kawashima summons searing melodic lines and heavily textured passages and just as abruptly lets them collapse, vanishing into the ether. Perhaps more than anything, Kawashima is concerned with erasing the distinction between artist and instrument, the barriers between the internal self and the external world around us. "The alto is the only instrument that becomes part of my body. It's like a soul that fuses together with my spirit. When I hold the instrument ready to play, something external to me appears behind me." Kawashima weaves aspects of blues and spiritual music within harshly abstract passages and a harrowing vibrato that echoes Albert Ayler 's spirit. His personal experience and approach affirm these connections; "I see spirits all the time. Shadows, phantoms. They appear at the border between your internal world and where the external world affects you. What I want to do is give a certain concrete reality to those things. The essential part of yourself that your internal eyes want to look away from. I try to make that concrete, to give it a melody and let it out." Deluxe LP housed in tip-on jacket with gloss film laminate photo mounted on cover and printed inner sleeve.

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