Kita-Kranemann

One World – One Sound
SunNorth Com SN-002

Throwing mechanical and electronic implements together with so-called real instruments, this Japanese-German duo creates a multi-hued improvisation that exposes vivid sonic tints that range from ambient textures to Punk Rock.

No surprise there since Wuppertal-based Eberhard Kranemann, who plays cello, electric and Hawaiian guitar, tenor saxophone, voice, keyboard, sound tapes and computer here, is not only a visual artist, but at one point was a member of the bands Kraftwerk and Neu! Tokyo’s Yoichiro Kita, who improvises on piccolo trumpet, effect trumpet, trumpet, trombone and the software program Ninja Jockey, is a member of the avant Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra and part of a duo with dancer Yukino Nono.

Like a bottomless toy box the software and electronics contain enough unexpected timbres to convert whatever the two improvise into special effects units. More profoundly, though, the duo isn’t overcome by electronics, and they make the natural or even acoustic sounds of their instruments centre of many of the CD’s 10 tracks.

In some ways it helps to have the booklet notes nearby to follow the music’s evolution, since both men play many different instruments on each track, with the sound-swapping usually seamless. Recorded in concert, many of the titles here are descriptive, although there are points at which unique sonics and pulsations add unexpected qualities to the presentation.

“Shibelsap”, to take one example, moves from wordless murmurs and groans from Kranemann balancing above chittering slaps and pats from the keyboard and electronic drums to introduce multi-syllabic nonsense cries from Kita. As the near-perfect percussion replication continues, Kita switches to piccolo trumpet, outputting shamanistic growls, car alarm echoes and deeper plunger notes.

“Special March” on the other hand, is just that, albeit a march as would have been performed by Albert and Donald Ayler. Fuzz-tone pulsations and flanged guitar licks have to share space with the beat of a pneumatic hammer – perhaps as homage to Krautrock – and emphasized brassy triplets from Kita. Eventually the march theme arrives, with slurring tenor saxophone and shrill trumpet in double counterpoint displayed on top of the ticking of a Japanese musical clock.

Then there’s “Broken Cello”, with Kranemann’s scabby sul ponticello and sul tasto string movements fidgeting and squirming alongside the triggered pulse of Kita’s Ninja Jockey wave forms. These single-string strokes add dissonant coloring to the bland landscape ambient of the software.

Elsewhere the German player’s contributions range from Hawaiian guitar played with raspy finger styling; rock guitar vamps that climax with descending distorted notes; a wash of keyboard arpeggios; and altissimo tenor sax squeaks. Meanwhile the Japanese soloist outputs fat smears from the trumpet; basso snorts from the same source as if he was playing a Tibetan radung; and spit-ball trombone timbres. Meanwhile his electronic signal processing can suggest tones as varied as a truck motor running, an electronic slide whistle shrilling or a brook bubbling and splattering.

Likely even more spectacular to experience live, the CD captures an absorbing record of what can be achieved by two committed improvisers. Judging from the pictures included with the CD, though, many listeners would also be very interested in the performance itself. That’s because a third participant – perhaps dancer Nono – contributes to the improvisations by coating her nude body with different colors of paint as the music evolves.

— Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Speaking Together 2, Autobahn 3. Special March 4. Arabian Visit 5. Freedom 6. Broken Cello 7. Marx and Engels in London 8. Shibelsap 9. Water 10. Abstract Composition

Personnel: Yoichiro Kita (Ninja Jockey, piccolo trumpet, effect trumpet, trumpet, trombone); Eberhard Kranemann (cello, guitar, tenor saxophone, voice, keyboard, sound tapes, computer)