Music Now For Harp


LP version. Wewantsounds announce the first international reissue of Ayako Shinozaki's Music Now For Harp released in 1974 by Nippon Columbia. The LP was released on the label's cult "Master Sonic" series and features Shinozaki's harp soundscape on works by renowned composer Toru Takemitsu and Katsuhiro Tsubono. The highlight of the album is the spaced-out, ethereal 25-min ambient epic "Heterodyne" featuring cult musician Takehisa Kosugi (Taj Mahal Travellers, Group Ongaku) on electric violin and sound waves. Japanese harpist Ayako Shinozaki first studied in Japan, then at Julliard in New York and, upon her return in Japan in the early 1970s, she launched her yearly "Harp No Koten" recital (the first or which took place in 1972) with the idea of pushing the boundaries of the instrument, delving into the more experimental side of the spectrum and following in the recent steps by Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane to get the instrument out of classical music. The album Music Now For Harp is the fruit of this first recital and is composed of three pieces that were played there. The first piece, "Stanza II" was composed by Toru Takemitsu, one of the most famous contemporary Japanese composers of the 20th century. "Stanza II" was written in 1971 for Swiss harpist Ursula Holliger and is a subtle piece featuring Shinozaki's harp intertwined with tapes of drones, birdcall and street sounds. It's typical of the music composed by Takemitsu at the time and in the Japanese notes, he refers to the music as "a midday scene, a stone shatters the silence, words are exchanged, a bird crosses the sky, casting no shadow." The second piece of the album, "Poem of Lin" was written by the young Japanese composer Katsuhiro Tsubono (who was 25 years old at the time). The piece was composed for harp, bells and voice and is an eerie yet percussive soundscape emphasizing Shinozaki's interplay with percussion and voice. The final piece "Heterodyne" makes up the whole of side two, composed by legendary Japanese musician Takehisa Kosugi. It is an extraordinary piece of music featuring Shinozaki's harp and Kosugi violin dialoguing over Kosugi's added electronic effects. The piece is a deep, spiritual journey mixing the organic feel of the harp and violin with the futuristic touch brought by Kosugi's hypnotic, almost funky sound waves. Newly remastered by Nippon Columbia. Original artwork designed by legendary Japanese graphic designer Kohei Sugiura. Includes two-page insert with new liner notes by Alan Cummings.