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jan jelinek / masayoshi fujita - Bird, Lake, Objects
*Breathtaking album from Jan Jelinek and Masayoshi Fujita, easily Jelinek's best work since the seminal 'Loop-Finding Jazz Records* This gorgeous collaboration finds renowned electronic producer Jan Jelinek hosting Japanese percussionist and vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita on his own Faitiche label. The resultant recordings find the two musicians working their way through six different pieces that call upon both Fujita's jazz-influenced yet non-traditional vibraphone style and Jelinek's mastery of layered sound. All but one of these tracks features the presence of ambient location recordings, obtained via a single designated mic setup to record whatever background noise was present while the performances themselves were taking place. The often imperceptible flow of distant street noises and footfall lends an air of subliminal depth to the recordings, framing the warm glow of Fujita's instrumentation. On 'Undercurrent' the vibraphone's muffled, bell-like timbres are ruptured by skittering electronics and a rising sense of overdriven chaos, but however rowdy and distorted it gets in the latter half, the piece remains hypnotically beautiful - especially in its undulating final stages during which the vibraphone flows in harp-like waves. One of the more open and lively tracks here is 'Waltz (A Lonely Crowd)' which perhaps owes the clearest debt to a jazz background, but the way the looped phrases slot together and evolve is just classic Jelinek. The only track here not to integrate incidental sounds from the recording space is 'Stripped To RM', whose Oval-like granular skips and high frequency sub-currents provide one of the albums highlights. By contrast, closing composition 'Ia_Ai' drifts off into a lonesome, painfully beautiful atmosphere before a rising tide of digital noise and low end hum closes the record with a Ben Frost-like heaviness. Sublime.