Music Reviews from the Staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House


June 3, 2022
Fukiya - Masayo Koketsu
Label: Relative Pitch Records
Catalog #: RPRSS011
Location: United States
Release Date: May 20, 2022
Media: compact disc or digital download entry entry

The fukiya is the Japanese blowgun, used today for sport, analogous to darts, and regarded historically as a tool of the ninja during feudal times. That Masayo Koketsu chose this name for her first solo album provokes the imagination. Does she intend for her use of fukiya to call to mind the sport, as John Zorn used titles such as archery for his game pieces? Perhaps Ms. Koketsu is playing a solitary game on this album.

The nature of any game is defined by its rules, arbitrary but nevertheless essential in establishing the procedures and limits of the game. The staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House prefer to allow music to trigger their imagination in these reviews, so we propose to enumerate a few of the rules that govern the musical game of fukiya as interpreted by our ears.

Rule No. 1. For every sound, there is an equal and opposite silence.
One hears in the single forty-six minute piece the essential complementary elements of the presence and absence of sound in the music. The duration of notes and their spacing are both measured.

Rule No. 2. For every spasm, there is an equal and opposite relaxation.
This music exhibits a joy in revealing both ecstasy and the gradual release of tension. To ask that music, or people for that matter, be created any other way is an absurdity.

Rule No. 3. For every height, there is an equal and opposite depth.
Just as the human voice is capable of great range—shouting, whispering, shrieking, bellowing, laughing and sobbing—so too is the saxophone capable of expressing a range of emotion. In the extended story that Ms. Koketsu tells on this album, she presents episodes of exultation and sorrow.

As we understand it, Ms. Koketsu found a creative release during the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic through posting solo home performances on social media sites. It was through late-night perusing of these videos, that Kevin Reilly, curator of the Relative Pitch Records catalog, conceived of the idea to invite her to contribute an album to the label. We suppose this is evidence that it is possible for individuals to extract good even from global catastrophe.

Fukiya is a recent addition to the Relative Pitch Records Solo Series. Several other albums from this adventurous series have been reviewed by the staff of the Poison Pie Publishing House. Links to the reviews are provided below.



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