Este encontro Japão-Portugal ocorreu em setembro de 2019 no Barber Fuji, em Saitama. Naoki Kita (violino), Naoto Yamagishi (percussão) e Guilherme Rodrigues (violoncelo) se uniram para uma sessão de improvisação livre, que rendeu cerca de 40 minutos de música repartidos em quatro temas. Aqui temos perceptíveis influências do free impro japonês, inclusive com elementos noise sensivelmente presentes. A gravação mostra o trio em áspero diálogo, que tem nos momentos mais ríspidos seu melhor. A música oscila entre passagens mais detalhistas e pontos de ataques ruidosos mais explícitos, em sequências que guiam os ouvintes por labirintos sem muita clareza de para onde se está indo. De um modo geral, as peças começam de forma mais calma, com os sons vindo e crescendo aos poucos, sendo por vezes um processo muito imagético, chegando a parecer ter sido desenvolvido com o propósito de dialogar com imagens. A faixa III é a que melhor condensa a proposta do trio, com a música logo rumando para seus picos, soando especialmente cortante passados menos de três minutos. De pizzicato delicado a linhas rascantes, violino e violoncelo compartilham trilhas entrecortadas pela percussão em uma sonoridade que pode oscilar na mesma peça entre ecos meditativos e ataques penetrantes.
By Fabricio Vieira at FreeForm, FreeJazz
I also want to note a new eponymous trio album from cellist Guilherme Rodrigues (b.1988) & two Japanese musicians who've been working in Berlin, Naoki Kita (b.1972) on violin & Naoto Yamagishi on percussion: Kita, Rodrigues & Yamagishi was recorded — notably in Japan — in September 2019, and consists of four tracks uniting contemporary Lisbon-Berlin investigations with a (perhaps) more Japanese sense of line or even noisy starkness. The result is also something of a milestone for Rodrigues in developing his own style.... (He has a solo album, Cascata, due to appear soon as well, but I haven't heard it.) And although percussion is nominally a rather different instrument, and does sometimes involve more traditional striking, Yamagishi — who has a prior solo album on Creative Sources himself, as well as another digital-only trio release with Rodrigues — often produces various frictional sounds himself, such that the trio can seem like an integral group of bowed strings (albeit the largest having a rather jagged sound). To this, Kita brings an emphasis on continuity, moving through various stylistic invocations while usually maintaining line — a style also found on Arzt, another string trio album on Creative Sources, this time from 2017 & involving Ernesto Rodrigues (unusually) in the lowest part — sometimes down to a lonely drone in harmonics. Although Kita, Rodrigues & Yamagishi involves something of a "string" trio via timbral matching, then, it also tends to involve rhythmic contours. And not so unlike the recent First and Second (or indeed Switches), a variety of material tends to be arrayed linearly, making for a different exploration of line. There's a detailed feeling for individual sounds as well, but also an evocation of space & distance, or even inside & outside — as worldly invocations mix with internal passions, especially as articulated by cello. (And I should also note that this trio is superficially similar to that on Dethick, as discussed here in May 2019, there with two Japanese musicians around Angharad Davies, and with nominally the same — albeit uncredited — set of instruments: The latter tends toward smoothness, however, rather than a rhythmic profile, and perhaps more significantly in this context, primarily interrogates three-dimensional space rather than line per se. One might note e.g. that "crystalline" references a 3d concept....) The sense of musical line on Kita, Rodrigues & Yamagishi can also present as something of a sparse travelogue (including cinematically at times) — as noted of other albums here in the past — but can generate new perspectives as well, particularly in its sense of extension (or even distension): A sort of Cageian feel for extending continuity thus comes to suggest almost a cantilever, or maybe the wire strands of Calder... as maximal influences (noir, carnival, distant rural skulking...) are distilled into a sort of perspectival but sometimes noisily dissonant minimalism. In this sense, the lines of Kita, Rodrigues & Yamagishi sound constructed or (perhaps tenuously) erected, rather than merely following (or traveling) the contours of preexisting space. And so in its creative engagement with humanity & humility, the trio can sound lyrical or romantic as well, albeit concluding the album with some quirky rumbling counterpoint.
1 July 2020, Todd McComb's Jazz Thoughts, Medieval.org
La soirée japanaise II
***** Naoki Kita, Guilherme Rodrigues & Naoto Yamagishi
For me, this trio album, recorded live at Barber Fuji in Saitama, Japan in September 2019, is the most beautiful album of Guilherme that I know. It was mixed, mastered and cover art by Carlos Santos, and released in May 2020 in the middle of the Covid19 crisis. It contains 4 track, each of them being a masterpiece of meditative free improvised chamber music that combines Western aesthetics with Eastern meditative depth. "I" starts with a pulsating pizzicato of the violin and cello, and incredible percussion sounds. Guilherme and Naoki starts then to bow in a distorted, expressive way, and return to "fake" sounds end effects. There is a certain tension in the air, yet at the end everything return to a peaceful synergy. "II", the over 13 minutes long highlight, is similar, yet very different. Again, "fake" sounds of hard-to-guess-origin are omnipresent in the beginning, but then full of expression bowing starts. The final is again more peaceful and joyful, with repetitive, minimal motifs. "III" is a shorter track that combines abstraction and openness with the minimal music elements. The closing "IV" is a 10 minutes long musical journey between West and East with violin sounding sometimes like koto and cello like an approaching thunderstorm.
I am ashamed of not knowing Naoto Yamagishi (born 1979) earlier -- for me one of the most interesting percussion discoveries of the recent years.
Creative Sources - CS XXX CD Naoki Kita (v); Guilherme Rodrigues (clo); Naoto Yamagishi (perc). September 2019.
By Maciej Lewenstein