Boomkat Product Review:
Utterly life affirming and thrilling fusions of Japanese and Indonesian percussive traditions by experimental/avant-garde/free jazz figure Tsuchitori and his Spiral Arms battery, enmeshed with New Gamelan Ensemble
Recorded at the Setagaya Public Theatre in Tokyo, 1998, ‘Ikai’ is a masterclass in cross-cultural dialogue via drumming languages. Toshi Tsuchitori, who earned his chops in the ‘70s playing jazz drums with free specialists Milford Graves, Steve Lacy, and Derek Bailey, a.o., brings his Spiral Arms quintet and their custom built Kuretuzumi - C.6th-7th drums once exclusively used for Gigaku mask dances - and the guembri, key to Gnawa trance music, to the s polymetric gamelan rhythmelodies of Indonesian New Gamelan Ensemble, helmed by Rahayu Supanggah, in utterly ravishing forms that recall aspects of Senyawa as much as Michael Ranta or even CC Hennix’s work with The Deontic Miracle.
The amassed players ring out in three joyous parts with two staggering durational dervishes bookending a perhaps necessary, quieter palate cleanser in between. The longer works are just mind-blowing, with Pt.1 conjuring a cavalcade of resounding percussion and visceral, breathtaking horns that escalate and collapse in gloriously elemental form, whereas Pt.3 feels more like a rushing, free jazz drum chorus sustaining rapid polymetric patter until the horns take your head top clean off in the final third. Pt.2 is a sublime bridge of harmonious metal percussion and more wistful wind sloshing into folk dance; an effective break in the storm that makes the other parts even more vital in its relief. Don’t sleep!