Kuwayama Kiyoharu & Masayoshi Urabe / From the Abolition Port 2010 (CDR USA)
Jun 2010 -Songs From Under the Floorboards - edition of 100 copies

URABE Masayoshi : alto saxophone,chains,metal joints,bell
KUWAYAMA Kiyoharu : cello, viola, metal junk, wood sticks, etc

Recorded at No 20 warehouse

A gripping, devastatingly patient, and emotionally raw improvisation for cello, saxophone, and metal chains recorded live at Kuwayama Kiyoharufs cavernous warehouse space in Nagoya, Japan. Rather than an event-driven, linear performance, From the Abolition Port is a single structure, with the ghostly presence of the space acting as either a third performer, or perhaps as the composer. The music is violent in its sparseness; sharp instrumental outbursts push with great effort against a backdrop of blackness as dense and heavy as the sun. From the Abolition Port suggests a private ritual, or a seancec or perhaps absurd theater, with unseen players circumnavigating a pitch-dark industrial space, sending out desperate distress signals and futilely listening for a response.
Alto sax player Masayoshi Urabe is known for his solo performances, but has worked alongside fellow psych/noise travellers Kosoukuya, Junko, Hiroshi Hasegawa (Astro, CCCC), Kan Mikami, and Chie Mukai. Kiyoharu Kuwayama played cello in the duo Kuwayama-Kijima, but his primary project is the Catastrophe Point series, which he records under the name Lethe.

(note: this album was recorded on October 2, 2003, not October 3, 2002 as is printed in the insert)
Reviews

gKuwayama & Urabe only recorded a single piece of 49 minutes for this disc, but what room! Space is so vast, cold, industrial, and disturbing, but all this is balanced by the warmth, emotional intensity and therefore the humanity of the musicians who do not shrink from some form of lyricism. In the place chosen by Kuwayama, every sound flies, affects suddenly and violently to finally follow his path and free air. The echo is breathtaking and provides all the body space that empowers the sound. I rarely heard a place have as much presence and consistency, all sounds are made spectral and ghostly as they immerse themselves in this spacec a work rather tinged with a poignant lyricism and sensitivity, wrenching, full of emotions rich and intense, exacerbated by the acoustics. (From the Abolition Port is) certainly one of the most captivating records and most sensitive that Ifve heard recently, one of the most singular and remarkable. I can not state enough that this is a true masterpiece of emotions and sonorities, a magical beauty and uncommon. A big thank you to these two artists for this musical pearl!h

Improv Sphere

This disc is one of two recordings by Kuwayama Kiyoharu, (also known as Lethe), on cello, viola, metal junk, wood sticks etc., and Urabe Masayoshi on alto sax, chains, metal joints and bell, improvising inside an abandoned warehouse in Nagoya Japan. In one 50 minute-long wedge of sound these two veterans use the space itself as much as their respective instruments and sound makers, setting up hovering overtones with sparse statements and tangled eruptions, often separated by longish sections of quiet. Outside sounds like traffic can also be heard at times. This is a beautiful recording in which the large room becomes a third instrument, adding its resonance to the efforts of its human occupants.
The release starts quietly with some rustling or dragging sounds, and Urabe begins with wavering tones and high-pitched squeals. The long reverberation time gives the effect of slowing everything down, anything played in haste gets mashed together and distorted by it's own echo, and maybe that's why they're taking their time, leaving lots of space. About six minutes in there's a nice passage of droning cello with saxophone squeals and squeaks, which gives way to slightly more frenetic interaction before dying in an echoing haze. The whole is akin to watching a film that's slowly moving in and out of focus. You can catch details only fleetingly and then everything morphs into colored blobs. Here though, the blobs are every bit as interesting as the detail. At times it sounds as though one or both players have moved farther away from the recording microphones, and this obscures their attacks, making them sound ghostly-long ago and far away; a memory of music. The dragging and banging metal sounds conjure ideas of machinery, clanking chains and grinding gears, reminding us briefly of the buildings original purpose. There doesn't seem to be any narrative structure arrived at, more a rising and falling of motivic ideas set in a frame of industrial chill, sometimes resembling non-idiomatic free improvisation and other times veering close to classical sounds, a recital lost in the recesses of mind.

review by jeph jerman

gYoufre unlikely to hear any room-style recording that captures the room itself in such detail. So much so, in fact, that itfs as if the space is an equal partner in the improvisation. Recorded in a port warehouse, it actually sounds like Urabe and Kuwayama are in different rooms, a fact reflected in their playing. Therefs not dialogue here so much as co-existence, each player in their own world yet unified by the common space. The effect is fragile yet momentous, every gesture magnified, truly free and unconnected to the last. I doubt therefs any electronic manipulation, but the space is enough: reverb, distortion and dynamic shifts come seemingly at random, and the various bits of metal, junk and percussion both players use expand the sound as they reveal the space.h | Paris Transatlantic

Kuwayama - Urabe / From the Abolition Port
Going further into the depths of modern Japanese music, this one is absolutely highly recommended. Urabe Masayoshi plays alto, but also uses chains, metal joints and bells for additional effect, and Kuwayama Kiyoharu on cello, viola, metal junk and wood sticks.
The album consists of one fifty-minute long free improvisation and sound exploration, and the result is an absolutely staggering illustration of how it is possible to create a musical universe with very sparse means, yet one that is full of tension, meaning, and feeling. The tension, the meaning and the feeling are not necessarily those you like to have, but like all good stories, that's what creates the suspense and keeps you seated to your chair in anxious expectation of what is coming next, hoping for relief, hoping for salvation, hoping ...
This universe resonates within the confines of a huge empty port warehouse in Nagoya, Japan, and the "space acts as a third instrument" we learn from the liner notes, and that's well put.
The music itself is as far from spiritual music as possible : it is harsh, cold, industrial, hair-raising at moments, with whip-lashes of sound in between, sudden violent screams, sad howling, ... with the musicians like lone adventurers in a dark and empty space, losing track of each other, lamenting their fate, suddenly totally alone and screaming out for solace and comfort and the presence of something warm, which is mostly denied, even if Masayoshi suddenly plays some beautiful sensitive phrases around the middle of the piece. You sometimes even doubt whether the two musicians are on the same journey, or whether they are the two last survivors of something terrible, doomed to eternal conflict and battle between the two to them.
The true mastery of both artists resides not only in the coherence of their vision, or their incredible expressivity, but also in the controlled pace that creates one of the most dramatic musical performances I've heard in a long time.
If you are not easily scared, then you should really look for this album (here), even if only 100 copies were made. It will crush you. It is devastatingly beautiful.
Judge for yourselves.

The Freejazz Collective