Ichida by Eiko Ishibashi & Darin Gray


Eiko Ishibashi & Darin Gray
Ichida (Black Truffle; LP + Streaming)

This record hits shelves on July 27th, and brings together a debut by a duo of two diverse multi-instrumentalists, Eiko Ishibashi & Darin Gray, who are regular collaborators with fellow soundmakers from Merzbow to Loren Connors and from Jim O’Rourke (who also did the cover art) to Bill Horist. What you hear on Ichida (Part 1 & 2) is a 2013 full 39 minute live set performed at Tokyo’s Super Deluxe. It opens with the sweet harmony of the players with Ishibashi’s open flute and Gray’s signature upright bass strum. They complement each other with an emotive, rather dreamy set. The fluidity increases, the mood darkens, and it suddenly seems like we are in highway traffic with distant beeping motorists and other alarms. A vocal squeal emerges with a purring growl while a watery drone floods the background.


THE ART OF IMBALANCE: The chattering keys and bass fuse in a melodious blend that’s far reaching, somewhat astral with closed eyes. The dulled, blurry honks, the slightly dusty overlay and the tiny rat-a-tat percussion only re-emphasizes the velocity of their talented playing. In fact, you’d never guess this was two people playing live, it sounds like a full band conjuring this gradual mix. In the end of part one this mix becomes riddled with angst and some distortion. As we move into Ichida Part 2 they begin where they left off, adding a tiny organ swirl: one part space music, one part late night circus. It’s a subtle inclusion, but has the feel of an orchestra pit warming before an amphitheater-sized gig. They provoke bleary horns, softened synths, and general low-range effects.

With this combination of generated sounds there’s a queasy balance of rhythms and refined static. The duo seems undeterred with the residual squeaks and other particulate resulting from their fusion. It’s a perfect disharmony, kind of a hangover after a ballroom blitz where the parts and pieces slowly start to reform over a radio tuned between stations. It must be noted that this has been meticulously mastered by Rashad Becker. The chords and keys change and the players continue playing, glossed over as if you are listening through some sort of tarp. It’s a very uneasy, physical synthesis that i the end, as if steam has risen, comes full circle as it began in hopeful conformity.

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