2​.​23​.​11 (w/ Chie MUKAI 向井千恵)

by Chie Mukai & Che Chen

  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Beautiful 12" LP edition of Mukai and Chen's first meeting. Limited pressing of 166 copies with letter-pressed and die-cut art designed by Michele Colomer and printed by Middle Press. A Black Pollen Press white label release.

    From Volcanic Tongue:
    "Beautifully assembled private press LP in an edition of only 166 hand-numbered copies: this is a dream-team summit between Chie Mukai of acid folk legends Che-SHIZU, East Bionic Symphonia et al and contemporary violin/guitar/electronics minimalist Che Chen. Sort of a Japanese underground companion volume to Chen’s ferocious set with Tetuzi Akiyama, 2.3.11 was recorded live in Tokyo and sees Mukai on er-hu, vocals, percussion, piano and dance and Chen on violin, voice, percussion and sine wave generators. The combination of strings is simply dazzling, working twonky folk laments from scrabbly lightning quick improvisations and cutting singing slow motion swathes of overtone drone through ecstatic vocal freedoms. The blizzard of strings gives way to a more ‘chamber’ piece of soft piano and repeat single string ascensions that combines a classical grace with an almost NNCK feel for abstruse strategies while the side-long third section comes over like Patty Waters’ dream date with Ornette Coleman at The Town Hall, with the players slashing strings and clashing vocals in complete communion. With letter-pressed and die-cut art by Michele Colomer. Highly recommended!"

    Includes unlimited streaming of 2.23.11 (w/ Chie MUKAI 向井千恵) via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ... more
    ships out within 3 days

      $18 USD


  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $6 USD




Recorded live in Tokyo at Next Sunday on February 23, 2011.

Chie Mukai: er-hu, voice, percussion, piano, dance
Che Chen: violin, voice, percussion, sine wave generators

"While Chie Mukai is pretty well known in Japan, elsewhere in the world she may need some introduction. Born in Osaka, Mukai spent a few formative years in art school workshops led by Taj Mahal Traveler, Takehisa Kosugi, before forming her own groups, Che-Shizu and Enkidu (with the Boredoms’ Seichi Yamamoto and French sound artist, Eric Cordier). She has also developed a deep and ongoing practice as a solo performer, mostly based around the kokyu (a bowed, two stringed fiddle used in the traditional music of Japan and China, where it is called the ‘er-hu’). At one of Mukai’s performances, one is pretty much guaranteed to hear her shredding on the kokyu and unleashing a series of wordless groans and cries in a voice that is both deeply primordial and unmistakably hers, but she also has a proclivity for using anything and everything within reach. During this set in particular she used, in addition to her kokyu and voice, the house piano, the last band’s drum kit, a large plastic bag containing bells, rattles, a recorder, a kalimba and various other toy percussion instruments (you can hear her dump the contents of this bag on stage midway through the second side), and a short wooden stool that happened to be on stage. If this were not enough, we can add to this laundry list the fact that Mukai is constantly in motion, and indeed often spends long intervals of a performance simply moving about in space without making any sound at all. At times graceful, at others childish or even autistic seeming, poise, grace and awkwardness mingle as freely as the disparate sounds from Mukai’s array of instruments and objects. While we are perhaps more accustomed to sensing sound as a kind of movement, Mukai’s silent gesticulations often achieve a reversal of this equation; they get us to sense movement as a kind of sound. The word “dance” seems only occasionally appropriate.

Flyers for the workshops Mukai has been leading since the late nineties invariably contain the dashed off slogan: “NO GENRE! NO TECHNIQUE! NO BORDER!” Watching Mukai perform is to see this attitude against specialization put into practice. Her aesthetic is one in which one is an improvisor first and an “instrumentalist” or a “dancer” or “poet” second (if at all?).

During our sound check, I asked her how her kokyu was tuned. She replied, in her labored but deliberate english “I never tune” and then, after a brief pause, “I always tune as I play.” Sure enough, during our set Mukai was constantly tuning on the fly, sometimes to get in tune with me and sometimes, it seemed, to get out of it. as frenetic as our set got at times, Mukai is the most sympathetic of listeners and probably the most adaptable musician I have ever played with. It’s an adaptability made possible by a certain attitude towards space. This was our first occasion to play together and during sound check as we talked about how to approach our set, I sensed she was having trouble finding the right words to express a particular idea to me. Hours later, just a few moments before we were supposed to go on, she pulled me aside and said, “Don’t think too much about together. We each go our own way, but at the same time.” My Japanese isn’t as good as Mukai’s english, but at that moment I was relieved that I actually knew the right words for the situation. “Wakata,” I replied." --C.C.


released January 19, 2012



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