Silhouette (Sargasso)

Basil Athanasiadis continues his exploration of the Japanese/Zen aesthetic concept of ‘Wabi-Sabi’, an ambiguous and complex principle roughly translatable as ‘simplicity, emptiness, humility, primitiveness, impermanence, unpretentiousness’.

Performers, Naomi Sato (sho, saxophone), Takafumi Fuimoto (percussion), Stelios Chatziiosifidis (violin), Junko Nakamura (piano), Quartet Excelsior (Japana) and Okeanos (UK)

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Japanese traditional instruments such as the shõ and the shakuhachi, are intrinsically connected to the Wabi-Sabi philosophy, infusing natural beauty into seemingly simple musical gestures, and, in Athanasiadis hands, become the perfect vehicles for a thoroughly contemporary musical investigation.

Another influence that infuses these recordings is the late composer Jonathan Harvey who met Basil in Tokyo and encouraged him to pursue his compositional goals. News of Harvey’s sad passing reached Basil while he was writing ‘Aura’ and is hence dedicated to him. Recorded in Tokyo by top-level Japanese and Western instrumentalists, all the works on this CD explore ideas of asymmetry, rhythmic disjunction between parts, emphasis on timbre and the lack of strong thematic presence or large scale climactic gestures. This does not mean that climaxes are avoided; they are simply not caused deliberately, or at least not used in their Western traditional sense. Instead, the accent gestures assume the role of the traditional climaxes. Their sparseness and brevity result in an inevitable shift of focus towards the present rather than the anticipation of future.