Toshimaru Nakamura – Egrets


The Samadhisound label, founded and curated by David Sylvian, simultaneously released three impressive titles. Together they present a landmark of the current experimental/electronic/ improv scene.
Be prepared: none of these albums are ‘easy listening’ music – in fact, a lot of this music wouldn’t even be considered ‘ambient’.

Next to David Sylvian, it’s Arve Henriksen linking Toshimaru Nakamura‘s album to that of Jan Bang.
However, Henriksen’s trumpet handling is quite different here: it includes the sound of the instrument itself (like the clicking of the valves), as well as the breathing of the player.
This perfectly fits the music of Toshimaru Nakamura – who is a household name in the Japanese onkyo (noise) and improv scene.

Apart from playing guitar, Nakamura’s main instrument is the ‘No Input Mixing Board’: a mixing board without external input: the output directly connected to the input – the player manipulating the resulting feedback.

Nakamura has released quite an impressive array of albums experimenting with this  technique, which explains that that “NIMB”(No Input Mixing Board) tracks are numbered 42 to 45). He is able to control the feedback from the board very subtly.

On ‘Semi’, he improvises to the seemingly generative guitar playing of Tetuzi Akiyama. The tracks with Arve Henriksen sound like a dialogue of two musicians communicatie ‘from the gut of one instrument to the other’.

To me, improv music often feels like ‘musician’s music’ – it does not really seem to include me as a listener.
Not on this album, however: Nakamuru is able to create a musical environment I can connect to and get involved with.
But again: this does not mean this is ‘easy listening’ music….!

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