The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
CD Reviews  |  Classical  |  Live Reviews  |  Music Features

Takeo Toyama | Etudes

Karaoke Kalk (2009)
By MICHAEL PATRICK BRADY  |  April 21, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars


Takeo Toyama's song experiments here run the gamut from sublime to unsettling. The first half offers mannered, consonant melodies — a resonant chamber-music sound that, though daring at times, sits firmly in the familiar tradition of classical composition. The ironically restrained "Gauche" has a Terry Riley–esque background of minimalist patterns over which Atsuko Hatano's patient cello runs repetitious crescendos.

The trance is finally broken by Toyama, whose glittering piano interlude hits like a sigh of relief. For the second half, Toyama sashays into more rhythmic territory, introducing distinctly Latin flavors. The syncopated "Troll," with its sustained organs and samba beats, jet-sets to Buenos Aires. The casual cool is dissipated by "Odd," where unbalanced melodeons squawk and bleat their way to the foreground and dominate the remainder of the album. This portion of Etudes recalls the off-kilter nuevo tangos of Astor Piazzolla.

"Drops" begins to lighten the mood with uplifting strings, Toyoma's nimble piano figures, and the subtle application of rainy field recordings. The moody, stylistic shifts can be jarring, but Toyama's experiments also thrive on whimsy and surprise.
Related: Politicos Latinos, Pilgrims’ progress, Christian’s folly, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Culture and Lifestyle, Language and Linguistics, Astor Piazzolla
  • Share:
  • Share this entry with Facebook
  • Share this entry with Digg
  • Share this entry with Delicious
  • RSS feed
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Print this article
HTML Prohibited
Add Comment

[ 02/08 ]   Main Street Cruisers  @ Wolf Den @ Mohegan Sun
[ 02/08 ]   2nd Annual Middle Eastern Festival  @ Berklee Performance Center
[ 02/08 ]   Collage New Music conducted by David Hoose  @ Longy School of Music
[ 02/08 ]   "Beat Research"  @ Enormous Room
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   PIT ER PAT | THE FLEXIBLE ENTERTAINER  |  January 27, 2010
    Pit Er Pat, the minimalist duo of Fay Davis-Jeffers and the dubiously named Butchy Fuego, have pared down their sound in search of simple beauty, but the result is an icy album utterly lacking in energy.
  •   RJD2 | THE COLOSSUS  |  January 13, 2010
    RJD2 has fallen prey to self-doubt — having decided, it would seem, that sample-based music lacks authenticity, he's embarked on an ill-advised attempt to become a "performer."
  •   TRANS AM | WHAT DAY IS IT TONIGHT? TRANS AM LIVE, 1993 - 2008  |  November 24, 2009
    Trans Am are distillers of guilty pleasures, mixing fat AOR riffs with sleazy electronic accents and a propulsive attitude typically reserved for arcade soundtracks. What Day Is It Tonight? covers the DC-area band’s 20-year history with high-quality, high-energy live cuts taken from their many tours.
  •   THE BLACK HEART PROCESSION | SIX  |  October 06, 2009
    Formed in sunny San Diego, the Black Heart Procession write the kind of gloomy, downcast dirges you'd expect from less hospitable climates.
  •   FOOL'S GOLD | FOOL'S GOLD  |  September 22, 2009
    A big band with a big sound, Los Angeles-based Fool’s Gold come off as self-consciously cosmopolitan.  

 See all articles by: MICHAEL PATRICK BRADY

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2010 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group