the fact that the title of this project was cleverly selected out
of consideration of the performance venue (i.e., an Aikido dojo)
rather than actual programmatic musical intent, the adroitly improvised
live music on this work nevertheless does conjure a fair share of
the psychological drama (if not the physical) of an old Kurosawa
samurai movie duel between master swordsmen.
two musical protagonists, Krispen Hartung (on nylon-string
guitar and laptop) and Ted Killian (on electric guitar synth
and live loops), parry and weave - often as though in extreme slow
motion - through the course of three tracks (totaling slightly over
the fifty-minute mark) with a rare, almost perfectly matched skill
textures that Hartung and Killian produce are often seismic and
dark (you will definitely want to have your subwoofer turned on
to hear all the tectonic lows). However, many of the surface gestures
are frequently delicate, smallish and subtle, with bright flashes
that skitter by so quickly that you might miss them entirely if
you are not attentive.
this work is not background music for casual listening or mult-tasking.
On the contrary, it requires a rigorously disciplined attention
span to discern and appreciate its nuances and worth. However rare
this might be, it is also rare for such formally "free"
music to inhabit such an emotionally and psychologically rich reality
- particularly in the field of "electronic" music.
obvious moments of traditional guitarist "flash" may be
fewer and further between within this work, the sense of an unrelenting,
volcanic, smoldering heat and intense musical strategic mind-game
is everywhere evident.
work was recorded live on August 26, 2006 at 3 Shapes Aikido
dojo, Boise, Idaho. These performances were part of the show, "Mojo
at the Dojo: Experiments of Sound", also part of an ongoing
series of showcase performances sponsored by the owner of the dojo,
AlejAndro Anastasio, and the Boise
Experimental Music Festival.