Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tetuzi Akiyama & Anla Courtis, Naranja Songs

Today something a little different, namely some acoustic guitar duets between Tetuzi Akiyama and Anla Courtis in an album entitled Naranja Songs (Public Eyesore 127).

Forget about what your expectations might be for two acoustics. Akiyama and Courtis give us some very abstract, spatially open, almost Asian meditative new music that I presume involves total improvisation yet has structure born out of a unified vision.

There are four segments, each expressing in distinct ways the myriad sound possibilities available. The first piece, "Mind Mochileros," unwinds like a slow-speed abstract music box, a two-person counterpoint of open exploration that has harmonically expansive consistency. The music haunts quietly yet insistently.

"Springs and Strings" sets up sonic universes opened up by string bowing and "prepared" string pizzicato. Complex texture and timbres are achieved with a harmonic-overtone richness that belies the simple origins in the acoustic guitars involved.

"The Citrico Vibe" works with recurring note patterns that gradually lengthen as a careful attention as always to creating distinctive guitar soundings comes into play. This is restful yet very exploratory, with an acoustic drone ultimately contrasting against multi-note chordal repetitions and open strings recurring in interesting circularities.

"Los Frets Nomades" closes out the album with delicately sounded chordal motives that open out into a panorama of variations on variations while bowed sounds contrast and make complex the overall ambiance. The bowed sounds increase in density and timbral complexity in the end for a soundscaping that offers a fascinating poetic undercurrent of open yet tensile qualities.

I perhaps resort to some somewhat obscure descriptions to try and capture the world this music invokes. It is a sonically pleasing adventure that comes forward into your sound consciousness in ways that have no simple verbal equivalent.

It is experimental guitar music on a very high level. Akiyama and Courtis succeed in reconstructing the two-guitar improvisational setting where others have tried and perhaps not done as well. This is a gently pleasing yet very avant rethinking of guitar acoustics.

Ravishing. A breakthrough!

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