May 28 will see prolific Japanese vibraphonist, multi-percussionist and composer Masayoshi Fujita mark a new sonic direction with his forthcoming album Bird Ambience.
Bird Ambience brings several fresh changes for the artist. Until now, Fujita would separate his acoustic solo recordings, the electronic dub made under his El Fog alias, and his experimental improvisations with contemporaries such as Jan Jelinek. The new album sees him unite all these different facets for the first time into one singular vision. He also makes a lateral leap from his signature instrument the vibraphone — on which he created his acclaimed triptych Stories (2012), Apologues (2015) and Book of Life (2018) — to the marimba, which takes centre stage on his new record alongside drums, percussion, synths, effects and tape recorder.
The album also marks his liberation from fastidious preparation for past solo releases to new endeavours in improvisation. “I prioritised trying to capture the wonder which happens during those occasional magic improv moments. Sometimes the mic-ing and placement of instruments was pretty rough; things weren’t perfect and everything was done quickly, but it turned out as the final recording. Overall when I couldn’t decide between two takes, I told myself to go with the first”, Masayoshi recalls.
“The way of playing the marimba is similar to the vibraphone, so it was kind of a natural development for me and easier to start with, yet it sounds very different”, explains Masayoshi. “The marimba bars are made with wood and it has a wider range than the vibraphone, which gives me a bigger sound palette with more possibilities. I play the instrument with bows and mallets, and sometimes manipulate it with effects.”
— Masayoshi Fujita
Arranged with a perfect Kanso-like balance, the unhurried pace of Bird Ambience allows each sound and p....... more