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Till We Meet Again

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Album Review

Here are two of the unsung heroes of quiet free improvisation — OK, granted, Tetuzi Akiyama enjoys a relatively higher profile than Jason Kahn, thanks to his involvement in the early stages of the Japanese quiet improv (aka "onkyo") current. Till We Meet Again presents the Japanese guitarist and the Swiss percussionist together and apart. First, listeners are treated to approximately 20 minutes of duets recorded on June 5, 2003. Akiyama plays dismembered country-folk hymns like post-AMM haikus on his acoustic guitar, while Kahn conjures up resonances and washes of sound from (probably) cymbals and bells or bowls. The two of them have found some fertile common ground, as can be witnessed in the first six-minute piece, a wonderful example of improbable bliss. After this opening duo set, the album breaks down into alternating solo pieces recorded two years later in the musicians' respective home towns. Kahn explores less peaceful pastures, introducing an analog synthesizer that emits a teeth-grinding tone that makes a drum resonate. There are objects on the drum skin, vibrating as the instrument is set and kept in motion for 11 minutes (in track six). Kahn coerces interesting textures out of this contraption, but it is no way as mesmerizing as the album's first half. Akiyama's solo pieces continue to foray into the reinvented acoustic folk vein that he so brilliantly explored on Route 13 to the Gates of Hell, although here the form remains somewhat more abstract. In the end, Till We Meet Again is rather uneven, but the 20-minute duo set is definitely worth hearing. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Till We Meet Again, Tetuzi Akiyama
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