Ayumi Tanaka trio, Subaqueous Silence, ECM ***

''Subaqueous'' is another way of saying ''existing, formed, or taking place in or under water.'' Stillness is key on opener 'Ruins'. Perhaps that's not a surprise if you take the title naming conceit to its logical conclusion. The work of the …

Published: 17 Nov 2021. Updated: 16 days.

''Subaqueous'' is another way of saying ''existing, formed, or taking place in or under water.''

Stillness is key on opener 'Ruins'. Perhaps that's not a surprise if you take the title naming conceit to its logical conclusion. The work of the avant-garde and highly serious Japanese pianist Ayumi Tanaka who lives in Norway and made a firm impression on the fine Thomas Strønen album Bayou released earlier in 2021, the trio is a passive vehicle for the leader. Bassist Christian Meaas Svendsen is starkly scything in response on 'Black Rain' a piece that is both harrowing and intense. Per Oddvar Johansen on drums, familiar from his work with Helge Lien, starts to make his presence felt on the second 'Ruins' track.

Tanaka has a very original sound in the sparse and weighty avant-garde traditions of the Masabumi Kikuchi-like world compellingly entered into and isn't afraid to manipulate silence for effect. But the trio is mostly underused. A solo piano album from Tanaka might be more interesting. The title track at the end has a serenity which is the album's calling card and is easily the best track and certainly where the bassist at the very least is best heard. SG

Tags: Albums and EPs

Ava Mendoza, 'Sun Gun,' Astral Spirits ****

Getting the Nod heard on a couple of avant records that we really liked earlier this year which were the Mitchell and Gentile epic Snark Horse and William Parker treat Mayan Space Station 'Sun Gun' is essential from Ava Mendoza drawn from New Spells

Published: 17 Nov 2021. Updated: 16 days.

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Getting the Nod heard on a couple of avant records that we really liked earlier this year which were the Mitchell and Gentile epic Snark Horse and William Parker treat Mayan Space Station 'Sun Gun' is essential from Ava Mendoza drawn from New Spells. The album is released on 26 November. Written by the Miami-born electric guitarist there's a great woozy heavy clout to the piece, complete with bluesy extravagant reverb and a droney intensity to it all. It's nothing less than a solo guitar tour de force. Other pieces on the album are written by Devin Hoff, the Zornian Trevor Dunn and John Dikeman. Cum on feel the noize. You'll get wild, wild, wild. Photo: Harald Krichel