Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tetuzi Akiyama, Toshimaru Nakamura, Jason Kahn & Bryan Eubanks US Tour: Oct 30 - Nov 16

Two of the founding members of the Onkyokei movement in modern Japanese sound are touring the US this month and next in a quartet setting, with their first stateside show at Seattle's Chapel Performance Space. Tetuzi Akiyama together with Toshimaru Nakamura and Taku Sugimoto, launched the monthly concert series The Improvisation Meeting at Bar Aoyama (later renamed Meeting at Off Site in 2000), centered around the Off Site Gallery with the brilliant Improvised Music from Japan label acting as a vehicle for their transmissions. Embodying striking different approaches, Tetuzi Akiyama's choice of the guitar, and a particularly blues-inflected, improvised minimalism as the route to the pure acoustic qualities of the movement's ethos. His passion for Americana, Folk and Blues channeled through a distinctly modern Japanese sensibility discussed in-depth in the January 2006 issue of The Wire. Akiyama's regular collaborator Toshimaru Nakamura has gone even further afield to produce a body of work totally removed from the traditional instrument, his No-Input Mixing Board yields a wide range of sonic expression, from spectral harmonics to harsh feedback, within the framework of a controlled feedback system. The most striking of this work with the extended trio of polymath and underground ringleader, Otomo Yoshihide and Sachiko M chronicled on the sprawling dynamic immensity of their "Good Morning, Good Night" and the "Four Gentlemen of the Guitar" quartet alongside AMM's Keith Rowe, Oren Ambarchi and Christian Fennesz, both for Erstwhile Records. The label acting as home for the releases and regular global meet-ups, their Erstquake concert series in New York has brought Nakamura and Akiyama into regular ensembles with percussionist, Jason Kahn and Bryan Eubanks amplified feedback system for soprano saxophone. For more on the Improvised Music from Japan collective of artists and affiliated Tokyo underground cultures, check Clive Bell's Off Site article for The Wire and Cedric Dupire's 2010 documentary, "We Don't Care About Music Anyway". Earlier this year Bell revisited the genesis of what came to be known as the Onkyo sound in the excellent, "Off Site: Improvised Music From Japan" for Red Bull Music Academy. Chronicling Atsuhiro Ito and his wife Yukari's conversion of a house near Yoyogi station in Tokyo into a spartan gallery and performing space, seating 50 maximum, making room within the confines of it's four walls for a café and book-and-record shop upstairs. This humble communal space, literally inserted between the neighborhood's landscape of office high-rises, became ground zero, meeting place and impetus for the movement's aesthetic.