Libra Records

Futari is the work of two prolific and creative Japanese musicians. Beyond is the first recorded collaboration between pianist Sakoto Fujii and vibraphonist Taiko Saito. While there are moments where Fujii bursts out in an aggressively, Cecil Taylor mode, much of Beyond is made up of quiet, meditative improvisations. “Molecular” gives me the feeling of the world slowly waking up in the morning. The song takes its time developing. It begins from a barely audible scraping of piano strings and mallets and slowly builds to a delicate melody. The title track is similarly built around the long silences between sounds.

The interplay between piano and vibes is more adventurous with “On the Road.” The angular interactions between the players would make an iconoclast like Captain Beefheart proud. I like Beyond when Fujii and Saito are being rambunctious on their respective instruments. “Amo No Ato” finds Fujii throwing dissonant chords at Saito’s melodicism. I like being taken on that sort of melodic roller coaster ride more than the moments of Zen meditation. Every time I think Futari have taken off, they slow back down to examine the perfection of a blade of grass.

www.satokofujii.com / taiõosaito.com

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