28 April 2009

Record Label Highlight #1: Trumn (JPN)

This will be first of the, hopefully, regular highlights on prominent or promising record labels out there which are still making a difference in today's musical landscape. Trumn, a new label which was set up recently by Hideho Takemasa in Tokyo, just released two CDs: Tamaru's "Figure" and Yui Onodera's "Entropy". When I received the package from Hideho a few days ago I was pleased to see two beautiful long cardboard sized fold-in sleeves housing two CDs. "Entropy" shows an aerial photo view of a wintry vegetated panorama receding into the misty horizon, possibly signifying the natural cycle of decay and regeneration of the seasons as well as a form of aesthetic-synchronicity to the album title. On the other hand, "Figure" has on its cover a carcoal sketched inner-scape of a room with its reflection merging together confusing and confounding the viewer of where the room actually begins or ends. This is a clear sign of thought and effort being put into the overall aesthetic design and packaging of the music and artistic vision of the label and the artistes involved, it was immediately impressive and heart-warming: music still matters seriously to some people today.

Tamaru, a meta-bassist transmutated the bottom end tones into something out of this world: on first listening, not unlike moments of Yoshi Wada minimalist masterpieces like Lament For The Rise and Fall of Elephantine Crocodile and Off The Wall even though Tamaru is more of an improviser than sound composer. But it should be seen as great news that categories and genre-fication is broken down and blurred in this sense as at the end of the day, great music is but just great music.

Yui Onodera, on the other hand, plays the guitar and running it through elctronics and effects which, on this CD, produce pieces akin to post-industrial decay music similar to that of Andrew Chalk. Deeply resonating, this album is immersive and brooding.

To sum up, Trumn has successfully captured and released two albums which are of high quality and anyone who are interested to explore the current wave of Japanese improvised based music should give them a try.

By the way, the art work on "Figure" is done by one of the our very own: April Lee from Kitchen/a s p i d i s t r a f l y from Singapore

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