Published Jul 26, 2018Book of Life follows Masayoshi Fujita's celebrated collaboration with experimental electronic composer Jan Jelenik, 2016's Schaum. It's the second of an intended trilogy of solo vibraphone recordings, but Book of Life is at its best when it's not truly a solo endeavour. Fujita's prepared vibraphone pieces (Hauschka fans take note) are wondrous achievements in using extended technique to explore new frontiers of the instrument, and are all lovely compositions in their own right, but the most thoroughly wowing pieces on the album are those where Fujita is accompanied by a small ensemble of strings and woodwinds.
Nowhere is this more evident than three songs in, when "It's Magical" arrives to conjure blissful otherworldly vibrations led by a melody that favourably compares to some of Ravi Shankar's best score work, while very much carving out its own sonic identity.
The title of this standout track, "It's Magical," could also serve as the most succinct version of this review, or Berlin-based composer Masayoshi Fujita's ideological stance on music. The unconventional vibraphonist seeks the unknown, the indefinably divine synthesis of sound that transcends the logic and science behind craft. Such confident pursuit of innovation focused by the intent of achieving new emotional textures yields stunning results.
Fujita is a rare talent and Book of Life should announce him to a much wider audience as a vital composer with a unique voice, one I hope and expect we'll hear grow and evolve for many years to come. (Erased Tapes)