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Album Review

Shizuku is a solo koto recording that moves beyond strictly traditional playing into extended techniques. Yagi Michiyo demonstrates a wealth of technical ability, incorporating traditional Japanese and Korean influences, and modern American composition along the lines of Conlon Nancarrow and Harry Partch. Her material ranges from lovely and complete to explications of a specific musical trait. There are the pretty melodies of the instrumental love story "Remembrance," and then there are the two "Seawall" pieces with thickly strummed inundations that buzz into override until reaching insect-swarm proportions. These moments of sonic overload are then followed by selections of exhausted quiet and reflection. Perhaps solo is not Michiyo's strongest context, but is by no means a sophomoric effort; Shizuku is a varied release and a good introduction to this truly creative and passionate koto innovator.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Koto player Yagi Michiyo has performed in a number of ensembles -- both traditional and experimental -- since the late 1980s. She began studying koto under Satomi Kurauchi at age six, and later, in 1985, enrolled in the Sawai Koto School. While there, Michiyo studied classical and contemporary koto, in addition to shamisen and traditional jiuta-style singing. Two years later, she toured England, Italy, Germany and Southeast Asia on a Japan Foundation Grant. 1988 found Michiyo performing in the Tadao...
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Shizuku, Yagi Michiyo
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