Masayuki Takayanagi - Eclipse (Eclipse (Japanese title: Shinshoku) has always been therarest of Masayuki Takayanagi's records. The ablum was recorded in May 1975 by hisNew Directions group just three weeks after the monemental April is the Cruelest Month set.Legendary free jazz label ESP Disk was due to release April...., so, expecting heavy demand for the overseas ablum, Iskra cut the pressing size for Eclipse from 300 to just 100. In the end, ESP went belly up and April had to wait until the nineties for a CD release. Eclipse became a holy grail for Japanese collectors with copies changing hands for up to $3000, and since the master-tapes had mysteriously vanished it seemed supremely unlikelyto ever be reissued. However, by some sort of miracle, the original masters were unearthed this year, and ordinary human beings can at last revel in the tense, explosivedynamics of the classic recording.)Fantastic free jazz of varying intensities, led by Takayanagi's searing yet supple guitar. His supporting ensemble is more than just sidemen, they skillfully create enigmatic new worlds through twisted manipulation of forms and sounds. The first song, a wandering yet lingering AMMesque sketch, is displaced by the (subtle?) forward thrust and scrambling parry of the second. Indeed, "First Session 2" feels like running a gauntlet of vaguely irritated chin-strokers aiming the whips of their guitar, reeds, bass, drums at your gut in slo-mo confusion. It all speeds up until it's all spun out, dragging the damaged undercarriage down the musical highway. Part three, "Second Session", starts as a full-on drag race for instrumental supremacy,until the electric squall of the guitar corrals the cats into a semblance of advancement. Everyone gets their blows in, but the maestro looms in the background, ready to chastise into (decidedly minimal) discipline when needed. It's a long run, so the pace is set by the flaying percussion, but the tone is measured in a strangely stuttering, energetic pace. Weirdly affecting.
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