Satoko Fujii & Myra Melford: The Migration Of Fish
The Migration Of Fish
Under The Water (Libra 202-024)
Recorded: Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, California, September 14, 2007
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
Writers have used up whole warehouses of metaphors in the (admittedly difficult) attempt to put together meaningful descriptions of instrumental music. Improvised instrumental music can bring with it an extra level of challenge because it is often constructed not out of harmonic framing, but purely of musicians' reactions in real time.
A useful idea from the world of art is the concept of the sculptor who is trying to unlock the piece that already exists, encased in the raw block of stone. I've heard many sessions of improvised music where this description makes perfect sense. The improvisers try out idea after idea, tossing away those that don't quite work until "the one" shows up. It had been there all along, waiting to be recognized.
On "The Migration Of Fish," Myra Melford and Satoko Fujii don't so much strip away the outer layers of the raw material as walk around it, tapping here and there to find a way in. There are many sounds emanating from inside the piano as strings are plucked, raked, and scraped. Along with much percussion on the cabinetry plus further manual string manipulation and abuse, it seems that the pair may never find a way inside. But they do — and when it happens it's a gorgeous thing. After an ominous descent into the piano's lowest register, ringing arpeggios begin to form and circle each other. The calm is beautiful and inspiring but gives way to the centrifugal force of madly increasing speed and chaos, making me wonder what was left standing onstage when the final musical thought was thrown clear of the resultant shape.
Reviewer: Mark Saleski