Improviser/composer Hiroyuki Ura, sculptor Kenichi Kanazawa, and classical pianist Satoko Inoue released two CDs on the Meenna label in 2017, and the three artists are united again in Hermits.
The earlier CDs, Scores and Scores at Ftarri (both released in 2017), are made up of their live performances of a composition by Ura, which was based on a sculptural work by Kanazawa. The performance heard on Scores took place at The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma, in October 2016; the performance on Scores at Ftarri was held at Ftarri in January 2017.
The single track on Hermits (29 min. 50 sec.) is a live performance of Ura’s composition “Duration, Dynamics and Pitch” that was held at Tokyo Art Museum in Chofu, Tokyo, on November 3, 2017. Ura played keyboard and percussion; Kanazawa, steel; and Inoue, toy piano. The performance also featured guest musicians Yuma Takeshita, who plays a remodeled bass guitar he calls an electro-bass; and Paris resident Léo Dupleix, who uses a computer and a vibrating tin can.
The 26-page score of this work consists of extremely simple instructions made up of one, two, or all three of the elements of sound duration, dynamics, and pitch--for example, “Long,” “Soft,” “Low-pitched,” “Long, Soft,” “Short, Loud, High-pitched.” Each player makes one sound per page; and when those sounds are finished, they all turn the page and proceed to the next page. Though it's a composition, the simple score means there are a great many sections left up to the players' discretion.
Successions of small sounds from the toy piano hop and leap, intense percussive sounds tear up the space, and then there is quiet. Throughout, sound clusters appear and continue, interspersed with short periods of silence. Exquisite sound-making by each player, along with an overall structural beauty and high level of tension, make for a truly superb performance.