Masahiko Togashi Quartet - Speed And Space LP


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Label: Cinedelic

Recorded in November 1969 at Teichiku Kaikan Studio, Tokyo, Speed and Space - The Concept of Space in Music is one of those landmark works in which Masahiko Togashi is accompanied by talented musicians who possess a unique style and innovative approach. The album is an exploration of Togashi's notion of the "Time Law" and can be seen as a study of how texture, rhythm and differing rates of change effect our perception of the passage of time in music. Sounding quite obscure and contemplative, the brief introductory theme signed as "Presage" prepares the listener for powerful and scathing Free Jazz.

In a pace of increasing intensity, "Panorama" remits us to the liberating ways of absorbing percussion where the more muscular interventions are interspersed with moments of enormous sensitivity. Grounded by Togashi's varied percussion, the disconcerting piano of Masahiko Sato and the vigorous bass of Yoshio Ikeda mark the guidelines of this long abstract exercise. Among several solo notes and brilliant moments played through an energetic improvisation, this theme of 14:35 minutes flows into a grand finale with the involvement of all the musicians. "Expectation" closes the A side in a short but intense reverie of percussion, bass and flute, guided by an improvisation free of harmonic prejudices.

At the piano (and gong), Masahiko Sato (another illustrious representative of Japanese music) assumes a mediation function, granting some harmony traits to the, almost always, abstract and corrosive concepts of this collective. Certainly less known, bassist Yoshio Ikeda (which in the 70s recorded, among others, with trumpeter Terumasa Hino and in the early 80s with the renowned pianist Aki Takase) through a valuable contribution, imprints a decisive mark to the robust rhythm-section as to the overall sound of this date. Even with a less active participation, Mototeru Takagi helps impart a tonal diversity and a colorful exoticism through his forays into the tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and flute.

Of sharp forms dominated by technique and irreverence, side B continues with the title track, divided in two distinct but equally penetrating parts. With a depth marked by Togashi's percussion, "Speed & Space # 1" unfolds on a fast tune over 11 minutes of a harsh and incisive improvisation. The interaction of an irreverent rhythm section finds its complement in the disturbing screams of a delirious saxophone. Shorter, the 2nd part gives voice to an ambiental and minimalist concept in which the central role of Togashi finds an interesting matching in Masahiko Sato's piano as well in the saxophone and flute of Mototeru Takagi. In this challenging exercise, the flank "space" reaches its fullness before culminating in an entrancing performance by Togashi (percussion, vibraphone, bells, etc.).