Midori Takada & Masahiko Sato / Lunar Cruise / WRWTFWW

Some of this album displays the Reich-ian counter rhythms that folks might associate with master percussionist, Midori Takada. The organic chorus of her Mkwaju Ensemble. Music For 18 Musicians played by one woman. Largely on marimba. But anyone expecting the sublime tranquility of her Through The Looking Glass (also recently reissued by Swiss Label WRWTFWW) is in for a surprise.

Recorded in collaboration virtuoso keyboardist Masahiko Sato, Lunar Cruise, fuses Jazz with Classical. Then further changes up those disciplines using traditional tunings and tempos that the two experienced while touring Africa, Europe and Arab Nations. Experimenting in unequal temperaments and microtones. The album`s title hinting at its schizophrenic nature. Originally intended to be the more explicit “Possessed By The Moon”. YMO`s Haroumi Hosono guests on bass. Kazutoki Umezu`s clarinet sounds like it was lifted from a Medieval court. Dancing to entertain kings and queens. Celebratory feasts. His soprano sax accompanies Gamelan gongs. Spiralling into Fire Music. Free Jazz Skronk. Nahm is a technical and compositional tour de force. Changdra a powerful show of musicianship and strength. The clash of cymbals mimicking distant drums. The drums themselves versed in the language of Kodo. The tongue taught by the schools of Sadogashima. Where to drum is to meditate through movement. To communicate with gods. The rhythm the prayer. The titular Lunar Cruise by contrast is a dialogue between piano and percussion that sounds like a couple meeting for the first time in a deserted speakeasy / cocktail bar. Characters from Tom Waits` street, Kip Hanrahan`s New York stories. `Round midnight. Noir flirting through cigarette smoke. Mascara a little smudged, necktie loosened. Picking out half remembered melodies on the keys.

This is Art. Not really something for DJs to cherry-pick. To charge sets for dance floors or sunsets. Something to be listened to in its entirety. In isolation. With rushes of activity and calm all of its own. Rather than segued between strangers. That said, Iron Paradise, could be a Balearic Beat. Metallic timpani tumbling against a backbone of `80s Electro Funk. Sato-san`s Korg M1 and Yamaha DX711 throwing arcs of noise. Wailing like bottleneck Blues slide. Recalling Ginger Baker`s classic Bill Laswell-produced Interlock and Mountain Time.

You can pre-order a copy of Lunar Cruise here.

Lunar Cruise Art 3

Reference Links

Mkwaju Ensemble

Music For 18 Musicians

Through The Looking Glass

Fire Music


Kip Hanrahan`s New York stories


Mountain Time

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