Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction - Station '70: Call in Question / Live Independence 3xLP
Label: Black Editions
In August 1969, Masayuki Takayanagi formed his first New Direction group and embarked on an unparalleled musical journey that over the final 22 years of his life would define him as an uncompromising artist who would forge a visionary new musical language. Comprised of himself on acoustic and electric guitar and joined by Motoharu Yoshizawa on bass and Yoshisaburo "Sabu" Toyozumi on drums, Takayanagi's group created a new unconstrained form of music; It expanded on the most radical, fiery elements of American and European free jazz, while refracting them through an avant-garde prism. Harmonic and melodic development were rejected in favor of feedback and complete spontaneity. With New Direction, Takayanagi had achieved a "decisive break" from the past and created his own revolutionary musical language - a ferocious, often violent sound that paradoxically took both musical movement and stillness to their extremes. Takayanagi's New Direction soon recorded one of the landmark albums of free jazz and the avant-garde, Independence: Tread on Sure Ground (1970). It was Takayanagi's first album as a group leader and nothing short of groundbreaking.
As profound as its release was, it was not until 25 years later that a wider audience would finally able to hear Takayanagi's vision with the group in its most explosive and unmitigated realization; Japan's P.S.F. records released two CDs, Call in Question (1994) and Live Independence (1995) which featured unearthed, previously unheard 1970 recordings made by the group at the legendary Shibuya Tokyo venue, Station '70. The recordings were revelatory; They presented nascent, jarring versions of Takayanagi's "Gradually Projection" and "Mass Projection" modalities in uncut, unvarnished long form. Joined on some tracks by renowned saxophonist Mototeru Takagi, the performances are intensely physical and visceral. Yoshizawa, Toyozumi as well as Takagi would, in their own right, go on to join Takayanagi as iconic players in the world of Japanese free jazz and avant-garde. It is these performances, in a crucial moment of societal and cultural upheaval, that would help lay the groundwork for the rich world of free improvisation, free jazz and, to a large degree, underground music in Japan for decades to come.
Black Editions present the entirety of the recordings presented on both P.S.F. albums as well as a previously unreleased side-long "Mass Projection" in a deluxe, remastered 3xLP box set. The set features the stark photography of the late Yuji Itsumi and presents the original liner notes by key Japanese music critics and historians Yoshiyuki Kitazato and Toshihiko Shimizu newly translated into English as well as in the original Japanese.