Kayo Makino & Tori Kudo 'Ein Traum Fur Dich' LP
Originally created to be played between acts at the launch of Eiko Ishibashi’s acclaimed The Dreams My Bones Dream and then reworked and refined for LP release, the two side-long pieces are sonic environments constructed by Makino for Kudo’s piano to inhabit, or, as the LP’s credits suggest, a cinéma pour l’oreille in which Kudo’s piano plays the starring role.
Beginning with a soothing field recording of crickets dramatically punctuated by smashing glass, the first side finds Kudo playing his way repeatedly through one of Satie’s 1897 Pièces froides. Best known to many listeners for his role as leader of the ecstatically shambolic rock unit Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Kudo’s performance of Satie’s whimsical yet haunting melody is alternately halting and fluid, delighting in the hesitations of unstudied technique and the subtle variations between repeated attempts. While the combination of Kudo’s piano and the background of crickets initially suggests a documentary approach to recording – as if the we are simply hearing incidental sounds creeping through an open window – things take an unexpected turn a few minutes in when Kudo’s piano is suddenly doubled. Layering two separate attempts at the same piece of top of each other, Makino’s unorthodox mixing blurs Satie’s original into a fog of stumbling echoes that becomes increasingly dreamlike as the chirping crickets are overtaken by pattering rain, German dialogue and traffic sounds.
The second side begins in a similarly inscrutable vein, with snatches of birds and film music providing a gentle backdrop for Kudo’s improvisational variations on a chord progression that, as his performance builds over its twenty-minute duration, somehow begins to suggest the sadly swaggering grandeur of Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones. Makino accompanies and eventually overwhelms Kudo’s piano with a bizarre layer of digitally processed voice and drums, stretched out into a disorienting haze before suddenly retreating to leave Kudo’s piano accompanied only by a barking dog. Seemingly unrelated to anything else being produced in the world of contemporary music, this is a striking collaboration between two unique musical personalities that bridges the mundane and the surreal, opening up a dream-space both haunted and hospitable.
Catalogue number: Black Truffle 049
Label: Black Truffle