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Saturday, 22 May 2010

Seijiro Murayama review

We're trying out new venues around Brighton this year for our improv shows. Nice to be able to have a range of good choices available. This time we were lucky to have the help and support of Elton at The Northern Tavern for this last-minute booking for the middle of the Brighton Festival. I was worried that i'd never find a venue at such late notice but thanks to Elton's flexible and open-minded approach to his pub's activities we found ourselves with a top little venue for Seijiro's show. I must also thank Richard Pinnell and Daichi Yoshikawa for their essential part in bringing Seijiro to Brighton.
The Northern Tavern is a recently refurbed cosy little boozer near the Level in Brighton; usually quiet, unassuming localish haunt for post-work locals, darts players, the occasional karaoke-ers etc which on the evening of weds 19th may became the unexpected hub of brighton's experimental / improvising community for a few hours.
The evening began with a quartet improvisation of around 20 minutes by Daichi Yoshikawa on speaker cones, overdriven digital mixer and electronics; Daniel Jones using contact mic's and electronics, Seijiro Murayama's snare drum and event organiser Paul Khimasia Morgan on autoharp, sampler and objects. This quartet fashioned a quiet and minimal set with the electronicists' complementary chirruping lashed together by Seijiro's occasional hard hitting snare blows.
The Vitamin B12 followed with an acoustic performance featuring saxophones, ms10 synth, flute, devices, tape machines and accordian. Nice flow and a very beautiful quiet section about two thirds of the way in. This is what i really love about VB12; the way they can sculpt something of very delicate beauty out of a seemingly chaotic free playing assault. Like how i imagine a free diver feels when s/he opens the oyster shell they have just plucked to find the most beautiful pearl inside...
But it was Seijiro's solo percussion set comprising four compositions played out variously on vocals, serrated tube, amplified snare and bowed cymbal which really stood out. Using two contact mics (one mounted on his wrist) to amplify his percussion and having recourse to a volume controller by way of a foot pedal, the range of different sounds and temperaments coaxed from his percussion seemed infinite. He created a truly immersive soundworld which despite the overall duration of the set (40 minutes) kept the audience on the edge of their seats (and some their eyes firmly closed in concentration)and earned a huge ovation at its end.
Seijiro's visits to the UK are brief and scarce, so it was a rare treat and a great priviledge to be able to host his music in Brighton.

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