- Black Vinyl LP
Reiko and Tori Kudo have been at the epicentre of a wave of Japanese music with the emphasis on originality, intimacy, odd melodicism and chance-taking. It sometimes feels like their influence is everywhere.
Recorded at Village Hototoguiss, Japan, during autumn, winter and spring 2011 and 2012, the makeup of Tangerine is the culmination of over thirty years of experimentation, improvisation and intimacy between Reiko Kudo and Tori Kudo. Beginning their collaborative musical activities in the late 1970s and documenting their movements as Noise, it would be an earlier Les Rallizes Dénudés gig that would prove influential in shaping the duo’s lifelong impulse for collaboration and free play – it was, after all, where they first met. Over the course of a decade, they became associated with Hideo Ikeezumi’s seminal PSF (Psychedelic Speed Freaks) scene, Tori playing with the likes of Ché-SHIZU and Fushitsusha and self-releasing cassettes before forming the first incarnation of Maher Shalal Hash Baz.
Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Tori’s storied musical ensemble of an ever-rotating cast of contributors, would perhaps find difficulty with Tori if called his own. First surfacing in 1985 on a Shinichi Satoh-released cassette compilation, the group would spend the next thirty years playing live and recording, their sound finding solace with labels as far-reaching as Geographic and K. Tori would welcome local amateur and professional musicians, neighbourhood children, friends and passersby on stage, while in the studio, the likes of Ikuro Takahashi (LSD March) and Takashi Ueno (Tenniscoats) have joined him and Reiko on seminal sides such as Return Visit To Rock Mass and Blues Du Jour.
A deeply human, deeply romantic recording, Tangerine shines as a touchstone of contemporary Japanese folk minimalism and is significantly the last recorded appearance of Reiko and Tori Kudo as a duo. Reiko’s voice, plaintive yet playful, quietly commands centre stage and resonates perfectly with Tori’s crystalline instrumentation: bass guitar, euphonium, violin and piano evoking echoes of Enka blues. Glacial soliloquies ’The Deep Valley of Shadow’ and ‘When Seeing the Setting Sun Alone’ bare isolation and restlessness before evolving into profoundly welcoming works. A dedication to playwright and former collaborator Jacob Wren, ‘The Swallow II’ struts confidently while ‘Homeless’, delicately adorned and desirous, addresses themes of universal vulnerability: “Will you give me bread when I’m hungry? / Please stay by me like my mother”. A beautiful accompaniment to the intoxicating swirl of ’We May Be’, recorded live by John Chantler at a Cafe Oto concert in 2009.
Originally released on CD by Hyotan in 2013, Tangerine is presented for the first time on vinyl by A Colourful Storm with an exclusive alternate digital version of ‘Homeless’. It stands as the final documented interplay of this enchanting, invigorating duo.
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