Wednesday provided me with the opportunity of fulfilling my longstanding ambition of seeing Japanese free improv legend and no-input mixing desk player perform live. The gig formed part of a European tour that saw Nakamaru performing in a duo with Havard Volden. Even more exciting was that this gig was taking place in Salford, just 20 minutes from where I live and was supported a by one of my old almer maters, the University of Salford. The gig part of a series held at Islington Mill dependant on the dedication and hard work of Lee Patterson, Ben Gwilliam and Matt Wand.
The first set consisted of two duos. Matt Wand performed with Toshimaru Nakamura and Lee Patterson played with Harvard Volden. The Wand/Nakamura duo kicked off with some quiet and fairly complex noise textures that, although interesting enough in themselves, did not quite seem to develop enough. However, later in the piece, some very nice glitchy rhythms emerged from the layers of noise that were not too dissimilar to some of Autechre’s music.
The Patterson/Volden duo inhabited a very different soundworld, which was established early on by Lee’s amplified twig burning. Havard elicited a wide range of sounds and textures from his table-top guitar that suited the soundworld perfectly. As a soundscape, this piece was excellent, although I think it may have suffered a little from the fact that when the soundworlds are established so well them become nigh on impossible to break out of without jarring sound or gesture to break the mood.
The headline duo of the evening was Nakamura/Harvard. This was a very satisfying improvisation that contained an inherent form/shape and contrasting, but compementary, timbre pallets. Nakamura produced some lovely feedback that pulsed and phased wonderfully, demonstrating a dedication to his instrument that enabled him to wring maximum interest from a minimum of means. The only slight drawback to this set was that Havard had already revealed his personal vocabulary of gesture and sound during his early duo, which resulted in a loss of impact when they were unveiled a second time during the night.