Sunday, July 21, 2013

Yuukai Kenchiku (融解建築): Trinoctivm

Coming out of Kyoto, Japan is an excitingly fresh experimental group with roots in jazz, rock, and classical. Yuukai Kenchiku, which translates literally to "melting architecture," does exactly what their name suggests by fusing and tearing apart various structures in their music. One literally gets the feeling of different structures being rammed into one another to create a new whole through their frequent use of syncopation. This offering demonstrates both the creativity and versatility of the group, and if you are a fan of diverse jazz forms, you should probably find something in here that you like, particularly if you're into jazz flute, fusion, or good old saucy bebop.

The Track-By-Track:

1. "Beatnyx"
After a short syncopated introduction, the guitar and flute lay down sick ostinato, which gets warped and complicated by the ensuing bass line's weaving in-and-out relationship to the melody. At 1:33, the piano takes over with a different, but equally hypnotic ostinato phrase, while the rhythm section sticks with its anchoring dotted quarter note phrasing. One might expect a string of such repetitious motifs to lack the ability to draw listeners in, but the effect here is quite the opposite--and at 4:40, when the percussion crashes in with a straight-and-heavy groove, you'll find that you want to shake your head, tap your foot, or swing your hips to the music right until the end. When the flute jumps up to harmonize the closing motif at 7:10, you'll wish that it kept going.

2. "小夜時雨 (Sayo-shigure)"
The 2nd track, "Sayo-shigure" is fascinating. The title means "Nighttime Drizzle," which gives the listener insight into the song's pensive and gentle feel. I use the word "fascinating" because of the organic mixture of elements. During the opening flute passage, until about the 2:00 mark, the note choices on the flute would be as easily at home on a Japanese shakuhachi accompanied by a shamisen as they would in an Impressionist orchestral piece. I don't mean to peg this group with any sort of national identity. Rather, this aspect of the piece demonstrates the best kind of fusion, and, when the bass guitar kicks in around 2:00, you are seamlessly transported into another place--a dark, rainy, New York at 3AM kind of place--which further enhances the mixture of diverse flavors. The slight crescendo at the end is an emotional and satisfying moment executed with class. For such a minimalist composition, "Sayo-shigure" communicates volumes with its efficient melodies and masterfully textured atmosphere.

3. "Meiosis"
 Third and final track on Trinoctivm is full of surprises. More syncopation keeps the record bumping, and the 70s-esque keyboard/flute soloing carry a distinct Jethro Tull feel. The piano interlude at 2:45 is unexpected, but not unwelcome. As it progresses, it evolves into something of a fun-house of melody, exuding a collage of notes and colors that summon images like indiscriminate romps and carefree feelings. With a name like "Meiosis," that isn't all that surprising either.

Clean, clear, and perfect for this kind of music.

Standout Tracks:
"小夜時雨 (Sayo-shigure)"

Recommended?  YES!

Yuukai Kenchiku (融解建築) is:
Flute: Nami Adachi
Guitar: Hidehito Tamba
Keyboard: Takenobu Takahashi (aka "Hassan")
Bass: Shintaro Kanda
Drums: Kei Akita