Takeo Toyama | Etudes

Karaoke Kalk (2009)
By MICHAEL PATRICK BRADY  |  April 21, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars

090424_Takeo_m

Takeo Toyama's song experiments here run the gamut from sublime to unsettling. The first half offers mannered, consonant melodies — a resonant chamber-music sound that, though daring at times, sits firmly in the familiar tradition of classical composition. The ironically restrained "Gauche" has a Terry Riley–esque background of minimalist patterns over which Atsuko Hatano's patient cello runs repetitious crescendos.

The trance is finally broken by Toyama, whose glittering piano interlude hits like a sigh of relief. For the second half, Toyama sashays into more rhythmic territory, introducing distinctly Latin flavors. The syncopated "Troll," with its sustained organs and samba beats, jet-sets to Buenos Aires. The casual cool is dissipated by "Odd," where unbalanced melodeons squawk and bleat their way to the foreground and dominate the remainder of the album. This portion of Etudes recalls the off-kilter nuevo tangos of Astor Piazzolla.

"Drops" begins to lighten the mood with uplifting strings, Toyoma's nimble piano figures, and the subtle application of rainy field recordings. The moody, stylistic shifts can be jarring, but Toyama's experiments also thrive on whimsy and surprise.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Culture and Lifestyle, Language and Linguistics, Astor Piazzolla,  More more >
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