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Two live recordings of electroacoustic improv from the Japanese tour of guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama, Jason Kahn on synthesizer, and Toshimaru Nakamura on electronics, spacious yet detailed interaction that draws the listener into remarkable sound worlds.

Akiyama, Tetuzi / Jason Kahn / Toshimaru Nakamura
IHJ / Ftarri

Akiyama, Tetuzi / Jason Kahn / Toshimaru Nakamura: IHJ / Ftarri (Winds Measure)

Label: Winds Measure    
Released in: USA    

"Culled from two 2012 performances in Japan, the two pieces that make up this album are built from the most simple of arrangements. The way this improvisational trio put these basic instruments together, however, is what makes this album excel. Not a simple or easy listen, it succeeds in that difficult abstraction.

Consisting of Tetuzi Akiyama on guitar, Jason Kahn playing synth, and Toshimaru Nakamura controlling a no-input mixing board, the instrumentation used by these three artists is sparse to say the least. On "ftarri", the two electronic instruments set the stage, from synth outbursts and detuned radio static (which is, I assume, Nakamura's mixing board). Akiyama's guitar drops in, first plucked and then bowed, played erratically to become an almost percussive, banging instrument.

There is an overall cut-up, quick shift type sound to the piece, with the trio quickly switching up styles and approaches. Shrill electronic swells are pulled away to silence just before they become unbearable, and moments that almost resemble conventional rhythmic progressions dissolve just as quickly as they appear. The middle section is especially heavy on the quieter moments, which are punctuated with harsher blasts towards the end of the performance.

The other piece, "ihj" (recorded at the International House of Japan) has the trio dialing back the hyper-kinetic nature of the previous performance a bit. On the whole it is less about the quick changes and jump cuts, and instead it has the trio working in more droning, sustained moments. Evident from the opening low-end tone, the performance lurks more than it jumps.

That is not to say that the piece is boring by any means: the trio still work their distinctly different instruments wonderfully, keeping a flow going throughout the performance. Akiyama's ugly guitar scrapes cut through that opening electronic drone pretty quickly, and ultrasonic squeals pierce everything effectively. There is just a greater sense of sustain and force, with less introspective, silent moments. Grinding guitar and flirtations with synth melodies appear frequently, but dissonance and abstraction is still the dominant feature.

The sort of free improvisation that this trio works with is not the most accessible, but I personally find it captivating when it is done this well. The variety of noises coaxed from two conventional and one unconventional instrument only occasionally sound like they "should", being bent and manipulated by their players. There are moments that feel a bit directionless, like three individuals making noises independent of each other, but such is the nature of free improvisation. More often than not, each of the players compliment each other greatly, to result in a strange, sometimes confusing, but almost always fascinating work."-Creaig Dunton, Brainwashed

"The first time, a folk guitar slips, arpeggio or noises, on the expressions larvae of different experimenters - Kahn's long tablecloths (which sometimes fantasize the use of a cello) contrasts with the abridged finds of Toshimaru - The association will succeed however in tangling the game of cords loose. The second time, the trio agrees on a return amp to decide then to walk in companions. In the cloud they raise, many treble: high and taut chords, whistles and feedback of the machinery. Two ways, forced perhaps by two forms of space, to return an environment with the same energy."-Guillaume Belhomme at Le son du grisli

"Tetuzi Akiyama (Akiyama Tetsuji) (born 13 April 1964) is a Japanese guitarist, violinist, and instrument-maker. Akiyama formed the improvisation group Madhar in 1987, and the classical ensemble Hikyo String Quintet in 1994 (which also included Taku Sugimoto on cello). In 1995, Akiyama and Sugimoto formed a guitar duo, and played at venues in New York City, Chicago, and Detroit. During this time, Akiyama was also a member of Keiji Haino's Nijiumu outfit. Akiyama also formed Sutekina Tea Time (a duo with Takashi Matsuoka) and Mongoose (a trio with Taku Sugimoto and Utah Kawasaki).

In 1998 Akiyama began organising a monthly concert series, The Improvisation Meeting, with Toshimaru Nakamura. In December 2006 he began a regular duo with Hervé Boghossian (France), they toured in Europe (France, Portugal, Switzerland, England) several times in 2007 (in May, October & December) & also played in Tokyo during Hervé Boghossian Japanese tour in August/September 2008. In 2009 he worked with David Sylvian."

-Wikipedia (

" is a musician, artist and writer. He was born 1960 in New York and grew up in Los Angeles. He re-located to Europe in 1990 and is currently based in Zürich.

As an electronic musician, vocalist and drummer Kahn collaborates regularly with many musicians, both in improvised settings and in the context of graphical scores which he composes for specific groups.

Kahn has exhibited his installations in museums, galleries, art spaces and public sites internationally. These works focus on the idea of space: the conceptual and physical juncture points, its production and dissolution, and our relation to it as a political, social and environmental medium.

Kahn's other activities include sound pieces for radio, film, dance and theater. He has also designed numerous CD, LP and cassette covers. As a writer, his work has appeared in books, magazines and as liner notes to many audio publications.

Performing regularly around the world, Kahn has given concerts throughout Europe, North and South America, Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey and South Africa.

In 2011 Kahn started the Editions imprint to publish his own recordings and writings."

-Jason Kahn Website (

"Toshimaru Nakamura is a Japanese musician, active in free improvisation and Japanese onkyo.

He began his career playing rock and roll guitar, but gradually explored other types of music, even abandoning guitar, and started working on circuit bending. He uses a mixing console as a live, interactive musical instrument: "Nakamura plays the 'no-input mixing board', connecting the input of the board to the output, then manipulating the resultant audio feedback."

Nakamura's music has been described as "sounds ranging from piercing high tones and shimmering whistles to galumphing, crackle-spattered bass patterns."

Nakamura founded the ensemble A Paragon of Beauty in 1992. He has recorded solo albums, worked as a session musician, and collaborated with artists including Sachiko M ("a kindred spirit"), Otomo Yoshihide, Keith Rowe, John Butcher, Nicholas Bussmann, Taku Sugimoto, Tetuzi Akiyama, dancer Kim Ito, and drummer Jason Kahn."

-Wikipedia (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Trio Recordings
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Product Information:

Label: Winds Measure
Catalog ID: wm31-2
Squidco Product Code: 23369

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Track 1 recorded at Ftarri, in Tokyo, Japan, August 18th, 2012.

Track 1 recorded at The International House of Japan, in Tokyo, Japan, on October 12th, 2012.


Tetuzi Akiyama-guitar

Jason Kahn-synthesizer

Toshimaru Nakamura-electronics

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Track Listing:

1. Ftarri 29:24

2. IHJ 33:03

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