Sunday, June 5, 2016

Masayuki Takayanagi - 1991 - April Is The Cruellest Month

New Direction Unit
April Is The Cruellest Month 

01. We Have Existed 10:29
02. What Have We Given? 6:50
03. My Friend, Blood Shaking My Heart 19:46
04. We Have Existed [Alternate Take] 10:10

Alto Saxophone, Flute, Bass Clarinet – Kengi Mori
Bass, Cello – Nobuyoshi Ino
Guitar – Masayuki Takayanagi
Percussion – Hiroshi Yamazaki

Recorded April 30 and May 11, 1975 at Yamaha Music Foundation.
Originally due to be released on the ESP label (artwork had already been created), but the label collapsed before it came out.
Track 4 is a bonus CD track, not scheduled to appear on the original LP.

This is by far Masayuki Takayanagi's most impressive album, often considered as the ultimate one in his whole discography. Album and track titles all are taken from the famous T. S. Eliot's poem, and appeal perfectly to what it sounds: imagine Peter Brötzmann's Machine Gun with violent strikes of electric guitar outbursts a la Keiji Haino. Now figure out this was recorded April 31th and May 11th of 1975. This is definitely looking forward, way, way ahead of its time. This crazy mess is driven by technical achievement and mainly by the theory developped by the New Direction Unit: gradually projection (tracks 1, 2 and 4) and mass projection (track 3), i.e. the two different approaches in musical improvisation - slow building of harmolodic structures leading to a powerful finish, or H-bomb-like blast of litteral noisy madness.

April Is the Cruellest Month is certainly the best opportunity to understand and fully appreciate Takayanagi's work. I can't believe it remains so secret - especially here. Golden age of japan improvisation caught on tape with the best guitarist ever. It can be easily compared with Les Rallizes dénudés' '77 Live, in terms of innovation, violence and influence over the next thirty years, with a flavoured Ornette Coleman's benediction. You can't call yourself an improvisation lover without hearing THIS.

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