The Squid's Ear Magazine

  Rapid SSL





  American Express

© 2002-2016, Squidco LLC

A free blowing session from the trio of Japanese saxophonist, clarinetist and vocalist Akira Sakta, double bassist Johan Berthling, and drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, a furiously intense album fueled by a scorching rhythm section and Sakata's urgent playing.

Arashi (Sakata / Berthling / Nilssen-Love)
Semikujira [VINYL]

Arashi (Sakata / Berthling / Nilssen-Love): Semikujira [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Label: Trost Records    
Released in: Austria    

"A couple of years ago Akira Sakata, a powerful saxophone player who has been on the forefront of Japan's free jazz scene since the early '70s, teamed up with Johan Berthling and Paal Nilssen-Love, each one part of some of today's best rhythm sections (Fire! and The Thing, respectively) and both tireless musical explorers. The result was the record Arashi, that true to its title (meaning "storm") presented a band with a huge, powerful sound, but also capable of a variety of different moods, and despite recording together for the first time they already showed clear ideas and a strong interplay. This new album picks up from there and further develops the same discourse, mostly working on the band's strengths but also looking for new formal solutions. In the meantime, Arashi has become the name of the band, and the time passed touring together had a clear effect on the ensemble sound, making it even stronger and more cohesive.

The first track, "Snowing on the Temple Garden" begins with a sparse base of bass, bells and percussions, over which Sakata evokes the atmosphere described by the title with a beautiful, understated theme on clarinet, creating a tangible tension that prepares the ground for the rest of the album. The following Blow of Humpback Whale returns to more familiar terrains, with Berthling and Nilssen-Love providing an explosive free jazz vehicle for the fast winding lines and high register cries of Sakata's alto sax. Saitaro Bushi, based on a traditional Japanese song, opens with a fast dialogue between bass and drums, soon joined by the wild, theatrical vocals of Sakata, screaming over the free rhythm base, then picking up the alto sax for one of the most intense solos of the album. The following section features a bouncing drum solo leading to a layered coda of reverberating metal percussions, revealing a perfectly calibrated compositional structure. Again Sheep Said "Wolf is Coming" is another showcase for Sakata's vocal explosions, a chaotic intermission before the more nuanced final track. Semikujira (Right Whale) begins with a passionate, blues-tinged solo on the alto over a steady percussive base of single drum hits that recalls Japanese ceremonial music. The performance then slowly morphs into an intense free jazz excursion, with solo spotlights for all the musicians, before returning to the sparse atmosphere of the beginning, with Sakata's lyrical playing flowing over the textural backdrop of bass and percussions until the album ends with another high energy collective exchange.

Semikujira is a major new addition to these musicians already vast discographies, and one of the most satisfying listens of the year so far - a powerful, thoughtfully constructed work that blends familiar but disparate musical dimensions into a convincing whole, while preserving the spontaneity of instant creation. The same qualities are mirrored on the cover artwork, an apparently traditional illustration (by Sagaki Keita) that on closer inspection reveals a quirky, irreverent world of strange creatures.Highly recommended."-Nicola Negri

See all items in the Vinyl Recordings category

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Trio Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

Search for other titles on the Trost Records label.

Other Recommended Releases:
Nilssen-Love, Paal / Lasse Marhaug / Massimo Pupillo
You're Next [VINYL]
Ex, Terrie / Paal Nilssen-Love
Schobberdebonk [VINYL]
Nilssen-Love, Paal
News From the Junkyard [VINYL]
Sakata, Akira
The Tale of the Heike [VINYL 2 LPs]
(Trost Records)
Fire! Orchestra
Ritual [VINYL 2 LPs + CD]
(Rune Grammofon)
Lacerda / Manso / Nilssen-Love / Zenicola
Bota Fogo [VINYL]
(Bocian Records 2014/QTV/PNL)
Thing, The With Thurston Moore
Live [VINYL]
(The Thing Records)
Yoshihide, Otomo / Paal Nilssen-Love
Nilssen-Love, Paal Large Unit
Erta Ale [4 LP BOX SET]
Thing, The
Viking [VINYL 7-Inch]
(The Thing Records)
Ballister (Rempis / Lonberg-Holm / Nilssen-Love)
Both Ends [VINYL]
Nilssen-Love, Paal / Mats Gustafsson
Sin Gas [Vinyl]
Nilssen-Love, Paal / Mats Gustafsson
Con Gas [2 x 7-inch SINGLES]
Hiroshige, JoJo / PIKA / Lasse Marhaug / Paal Nilssen-Love
Osaka Fortune [VINYL]
(Premier Sang)
Angles 9
In Our Midst [VINYL]
(Clean Feed)

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought:
Wire, The
#390 August 2016 [MAGAZINE + CD]
(The Wire)
Price: $22.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 16.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 9120036682191

Label: Trost Records
Catalog ID: TROST 146LP
Squidco Product Code: 22320

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2016
Country: Austria
Packaging: LP
Recorded at Atlantis Grammofon, in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 20th, 2015, by Janne Hansson.


Akira Sakata-alto saxophone, clarinet, voice

Johan Berthling-double bass

Paal Nilssen-Love-drums, percussion

Highlight an artist name or instrument above
and click here to Search

Track Listing:


1. Blow the Humpback Whale 7:33

2. Saitaro-Bushi 15:35


1. Again Sheep Said "Wolf Is Coming" 3:12

2. Semikujira 17:43

What are other customers searching for?