Brett Larner / Joelle Leandre / Kazuhisa Uchihashi No Day Rising

Reading the liner notes of No Day Rising, one can almost imagine the party vibe that must have been present at this session. Koto experimentalist Larner set this session up to take advantage of the crossing paths of the three participants converging at Mills College in Oakland. One beer run and a 12-hour session later, this very strong CD was born. Larner's liner notes describe this almost as a pop album (right down to the Hüsker Dü title reference) due to the short length of each of the improvisations and their relatively upbeat mood. The pieces' titles document the times they were recorded from five p.m. to five a.m., and things do get a little more pensive as the wee hours drag on and presumably beer supplies run lower. This is never minimalist improvisation — no long silences prevail on the sound. No Day Rising is a total workout in strings meeting wood. The convergence of Larner's prepared koto and Uchihashi's versatile daxophone (an amplified, multi-stringed slab) with Leandre's nimble bridgework on contrabass occupies a similar sonic range, which makes for a cohesive result where it is difficult to pinpoint who's doing what. Toward the end as the energy flags a bit, Leandre's arco passages are more dominant, causing the other two players to play more melodically. Overall, a very well balanced almost tuneful meeting captured in a strong, smooth recording. (Spool)