Asakusa Follies

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Asakusa Follies is a luminous scene of interplay between melody, breath, and the shakuhachi flute.

Following on from the initial triptych of electro-acoustic releases on the Cuspeditions imprint, Clive Bell’s Asakusa Follies shifts the listener away from the studio and toward the player himself. Breath is a central theme in the album where a punctuation of purring, spitting, flicking and gasping intersects the tones, overtones and noise of the shakuhachi.

The opening composition Ultramodern Variety makes it immediately apparent that this is no traditional exploration of the Japanese bamboo flute but something altogether unique. Bell’s personal shakuhachi technique is highlighted in the four solo pieces of the album, and reveals a revisionist approach to the instrument which still honours it’s traditional elements. The distant low of the album opener flutters with multiphonics, deep in tone and subdued. Golden Bat Cigarettes celebrates the meeting of breath and bamboo where the mouth and hands on wood buzz then snaps in exhale before drifting toward eerie overtones hanging amidst silence.

A1. Ultramodern Varierty
A2. Silk Factories
A3. The Red Sash Society
A4. Golden Bat Cigarettes
B1. Erotic Grotesque
B2. The Scarlet Gang
B3. Five Storey Pagoda
B4. Idle Reminiscence