Kiyoharu Kuwayama & Masayoshi Urabe / Heteroptics (CDr, Intransitive Recordings USA 2011)

Heteroptics is a recording of the first collaboration by Kuwayama Kiyoharu (aka Lethe, here playing cello, viola, and metal junk)
and Masayoshi Urabe (saxophone, chains, and more industrial debris), recorded live with no edits or overdubs
in an abandoned warehouse space by Nagoya Port, Japan. Massive, desolate music that seems to send urgent
signal flares into the dense darkness of the industrial space.

Edition of 100


In the first batch of releases on Songs From Under The Floorboards there was 'From Abolition Port' by Kuwayama Kiyoharu, the cellist (violin, metal junk, wood sticks) and Masayoshi Urabe, the alto-saxophonist (chains, metal joints, bell).
That recording was from 2003, now they found one (under the floorboards presumably) from October 3rd 2002, which is pretty much an extension of that work.
The saxophone plays a big role, along with rattling of cages, deep drones produced by Kuwayama and falling of objects, using the natural reverb of the space.
Again a totally free work, but here comes jazz with a '?'. Especially in the second half of the work there are two lengthy passages that very quiet, with the second one (starting around 42 minutes) a leading role for the cello, making this an odd modern classical part with folk like influences. The whole second half was anyway more spend on me than the first half.


The Japanese have taken to jazz with a passion most countries in its thrall have not approached. What makes Japanese jazz compelling is that the musicians begin and end with the solo: improvisation, often frenzied and with the spiritual reach of free jazz, has been the legacy that has made Japanese jazz as influential in some ways as the music that inspired it. That has made for some of the most intense, crazed music ever recorded in any genre. Heteroptics is the latest improvisational work from Japan that channels not only Coltrane, Ayler, etc, but also Japanese pioneers like Aube and Takayanagi.
A one-track exploration and conversation between alto sax player Masayoshi Urabe and cellist Kiyoharu Kuwayama (and recorded in the latterfs warehouse space in Nagoya), Heteroptics begins with shades and shadows, with quite, minimal intonations that slowly move from solo to alternating to unified. It is here that, as stated in the liner notes to their previous collaboration From Abolition Port, gspace acts as the third instrument.h
But the messages passed between Kuwayama and Urabe soon become morecdistressed? Ecstatic? The thin line between grace and despair is explored with harsh, deadly precision, the sax and cello screaming, retreating into silence, exploding, with that third instrument always present. The piece ends simply, quietly, literally drifting away, the last notes sounding like they were recorded at the opposite end of the space from the mics.
It is hard to sustain such a rich, often profound interchange between two great improvisers, but there is no wasted space or sound in the fifty seven minutes of Heteroptics. This is a dose of free expression that is not for the uninitiated, but it is also for anyone who appreciates risk and spirit in music.

July 13, 2011 By Mike Wood Foxy Digitalis