Review of Disappearance [12k1076]

Textura (CA)

It was a concert appearance scheduled for April 27, 2012 at John Zorn’s NY club The Stone that planted the seeds for Disappearance as the raw material for the album was laid down during rehearsal sessions at Sakamoto’s studio (aside from the ten-minute setting “This Window,” that is, which was actually recorded at the live performance). United in their commitment to meditative soundsculpting, the two opened themselves up to the possibilities of the moment, with the pianist playing the instrument in both natural and prepared manner and Deupree devising sound strategies in collaborative response.

Throughout the recording, scrapes and shuffles emerge alongside ghostly synth whorls and the bright strum of the piano’s strings. While the five settings are characterized by a general mood of placidity, occasional undercurrents of turbulence surface within the material (such as when scabrous smears punctuate the crystalline calm of “Frozen Fountain”). While it might appear that the two dramatically change things up by adding the vocal sounds of Ichiko Aoba, a rising singer-songwriter from Tokyo, to the closing piece, “Curl to Me” doesn’t depart radically from the style established by the other four tracks. That she contributed the sound of her own heartbeat in addition to her breathy musings makes perfect sense, given Disappearance‘s textural concentration.

Above all else, what most stands out about the recording is how fully integrated the two contributors’ sounds are on the recording, with Sakamoto credited with piano and electronics and Deupree synths, tapes, loops, and acoustic guitar. The worst scenario for the album would have been one that presented the pianist’s lyrical melodies and Deupree’s soundsculpting treatments side-by-side as entities one could split in two. But, not surprisingly, that’s not what we get. Instead, there’s a realization of a considerably more effective scenario: their respective sounds interwoven into an indissoluble mass of multi-layered, electro-acoustic textures. Sakamoto refrains from playing distinct melodies or themes, aware that doing so would separate his playing too much from the surround. His playing, noticeably sparse, is instead more improv-like and textural, responsive to the rich sound design evolving alongside it.

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