Toshinori Kondo Silent Memories

Kondo is an enigmatic trumpeter best known to North American audiences for of his participation in the free "supergroup” Die Like A Dog. This is a solo trumpet record, albeit with elaborate electronics. Kondo’s sound cannot be divorced from the constantly modulating effects on his horn, but it’s all done live, with no overdubs whatsoever. Kondo is heavy on glistening harmonisation, à la Jon Hassell. The tools required for this approach have improved since Hassell’s day and Kondo’s synthetic tone is accordingly more complex. Despite the trickery, his sense of phrasing and melody always comes through; he’s actually comparable to Chet Baker in his intimacy. The meditative nature of his improvising is occasionally broken with impressionistic flourishes, as on "Stars Night,” which becomes pointillistic to suit its subject matter. His unnatural tone may be off-putting to some, and may be the perfect accompaniment to yoga for others, but Kondo successfully avoids new age boredom while staying true to his vision. (Forced Exposure)