Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek Bird, Lake, Objects

[Faitiche; 2010]

Styles: minimal, electronic, experimental
Others: Koboku Senju, Mountains, Keith Rowe, Black To Comm

Bird, Lake, Objects captures the unique pairing of electronicist/producer Jan Jelinek with percussionist/vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita. It’s the third release on Jelinek’s Faitiche label, the first being a collection of pieces by synth-experimentalist Ursula Bogner and the second a series of sound collages called Circulations by the mysterious G.E.S. (Society for the Emancipation of Sampling).

The album begins with a democratic discussion between Jelinek and Fujita’s chosen instruments, allowing the other to delicately introduce itself before engaging in the 40-minute conversation that follows. Fujita’s minimal notes show him emphasizing space more so than Jelinek, whose electronics perpetually rumble and click for maximal textural effect without disrupting the introspective disposition. The single microphone, which was left on for all but one of these six pieces, often captures the sounds of the outside world — for example, the siren that whizzes by halfway through this track — and the accidental, frequent footsteps and clangs of the two interlocutors.

On “Workshop For Modernity,” Jelinek produces a wind tunnel of buzzing sound that animates Fujita’s vibraphone-as-wind-chime technique. As Jelinek’s low-end phrase intensifies, the chimes respond, and as Jelinek slowly vanishes toward the end, the small details of Fujita’s contribution are revealed for a few soft moments of tapping and scraping. It seems as if Fujita takes center stage on “I’ll Change Your Life,” though it’s difficult to tell given his prepared vibraphone. By adding metal, foil, and various objects to his instrument, Fujita has modified its sound such that it’s impossible to discern what instances are his and the prepared instrument’s overall capabilities.

The dialogue on Bird, Lake, Objects is an appealing one. Neither artist talks over the other’s head or dominates the conversational space. Jelinek and Fujita play off each other well, both simultaneously responding to the other and directing the trajectory of the pieces. Though, at the end of the final track, the two sustain a collective and ferocious blast of noise and confusion for about 20 seconds that, suddenly, falls away and leaves several seconds of silence. This conclusion seems to contradict the meditative and shared space that persisted over the course of the record, replacing an egalitarian space of articulation for both instruments with an overpowering non-space that ultimately leads to the real death of the dialogue rather than its continued existence in the imagination of the listener.

Links: Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek - Faitiche

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