Oneirc avant-jazz-fusion, keening from the spiritual to the arcane and back in almost palindromic form. The players’ decades of combined improv experience is patently obvious. Exquisitely recorded and mixed by Jim O’Rourke, another adventurous side from Oren Ambarchi’s excellent Black Truffle...
“The first release from the duo of two important yet often underappreciated musicians, Eiko Ishibashi and Darin Gray. Ishibashi is a singer-songwriter, keyboardist, drummer, and multi-instrumentalist, known in Japan both for her own elaborately conceptual solo albums and for her frequent collaborations with figures such as Jim O’Rourke, Merzbow, and Phew. Darin Gray is a bassist and multi-instrumentalist known for a multitude of collaborations (with O’Rourke and Loren Connors, among many others), for On Fillmore, his cinematic post-exotica project with Glenn Kotche, and as one half of Chikamorachi with Chris Corsano, one of the finest free-jazz rhythm sections around.
Presenting the entirely of a live set performed at Tokyo’s Super Deluxe in March 2013, the set begins as a duet for Ishibashi’s flute and Gray’s upright bass. Calmly melodic yet harmonically inventive, with shades of ‘spiritual jazz’, the pair’s acoustic ruminations are gradually joined by Ishibashi’s lush electronics, which randomly flicker between chords in a manner recalling the classic work of David Behrman. As the electronics build into a gloomy fog of slowly cycling loops, Gray lays his bass aside and turns to making strangely mournful interjections on a mouthpiece.
Eventually Ishibashi moves to the piano, enveloping the audience in rippling pools of sustained, octave-doubled melody, provided by Gray’s bass with a fluid and dynamic foundation. For much of the second side, both Ishibashi and Gray turn to electronics, ultimately arriving in a bizarre space of melancholic arpeggios and random sputter and sizzle, oddly reminiscent of 70s outsider prog acts like Wapassou.
An uneasy coda of rich piano chords ends the set. Captured in warm room ambience and beautifully mixed by Jim O’Rourke, Ichida is a rare combination of improvisational acumen and emotional directness, both adventurous and immediately accessible.”