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Tujiko Noriko, "Crepuscule I & II"

I am obsessed with circles, but you don't need to share that obsession to notice and appreciate the gesture of respect here from Tujiko Noriko to Peter Rehberg with the insistence that Crepuscule I & II be issued in various formats, including cassette. Many years ago she dropped a cassette tape into the hands of the MEGO and Editions MEGO label founder. The tape contained her first album and, despite it being a big departure from the typically more brash and raw fare he was normally releasing, Rehberg liked what he heard and gave it a proper push. Universal acclaim did not follow.

Editions Mego

Just before Peter Rehnerg's death he was apparently digging a pre-release of this new album. The opening track "Prayer" may have gripped him; it certainly floored me, with Tujiko instantly wringing great emotional heft from machine templates. Sadly it is as short as it is sweet. I cannot, and will never, understand why this simple but dazzling piece is issued as a mere 2.22 minute duration, rather than 22 minutes, or even 2 hours 22 minutes. Baffling. The album title refers to twilight, and much of the music is reflective and meditative—without being sluggish or over-sentimental. To paraphrase a philosopher or poet whose name I forget, in terms of our lifespans "everyone imagines that it is late morning, but it actually is midafternoon." Part of the human condition, perhaps. At any rate, Crepuscule seems to be a musing about time passing, about ends, beginnings, and transitions, as much as a reference to the twilight realm as a quality of light, with atmospheres of melancholy or nostalgia, of uncertainty and mystery.

The starting points for much of Tujiko's music are images, either mental pictures or—when called upon to make soundtracks—actual movie visuals. Given this backdrop, and her experience of film music composition, it's no surprise that sections of the album can be described as cinematic. By this I do not mean the limited idea of languid plucks and anguished swells likely to induce thousand yard stares or slow motion glides through one's subconscious for a re-imagining of every trivial incident as if they all have sacred significance for the history of the universe. Of course they all do, but my point is that the ones captured here are not set to glum, ponderous music.

It may be pointless to approach Crepuscule with anything other than a microscopic focus and a monastic patience. I advise imagining yourself as the character in the film Black Narcissus endlessly seeking to look for signs beyond this world. They will surely appear. As a child my wife was mildly rebuked for claiming she could hear the aurora borealis. Now scientists suggest that they have indeed been able to detect sound emitted from the area. Some fine images emerge while listening to this album. "Fossil Words" has a stately pace and an eerie portentous feeling. In my mind it resembles a sunken ship or submarine being brought to the surface very slowly for fear of spilling polluting mercury into the ocean

I enjoyed the hushed intimacy of "Cosmic Ray." Another personal favorite, "A Meeting At The Space Station" is wide open to interpretation. Whatever images come to mind all work, Leonard Rossiter in 2001 or Bruce Dern in Silent Running, perhaps. It's a track cut loose from a film and left to float aimlessly through space in search of a movie: and it gets better the longer you stick with it. "Flutter" is a not so distant cousin of "Prayer" and I'm not judging. Edvard Greig, John Adams, Albert Einstein all married their first cousins; Grieg at least in part for musical reasons. "Bronze Shore" has a weird, vaguely psychotic tone—the kind which may arise when innocent voices are overlain with nicely distorted electronics, as if children counting or reciting a nursery rhyme become figures transformed into a brainwashed state.

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