Aug 2 2017
Even when the body is at full rest, the biological mechanics continue to work away. When snoring is all that’s going on, the parasympathetic nervous system keeps things humming along. If it were to have a soundtrack, it would be the new release from Gato Libre. This isn’t sleepy music. There’s an undeniable liveliness even when the moments hang upon the whisper of a drone. But Neko is a sonic translation of the body at work while in a state of tranquil sleep, a dichotomy of action and dormancy. The heartbeat of “Tama” is barely a murmur, and yet through it flows music rich with the blood of life. “Momo” is the change in respiration in response to vivid dreams, whereas “Mii” are loud, happy snores.
Melodies are breathed out slowly and they hang in the air, soft and lovely. On “Hime,” trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and trombonist Yasuko Kaneko send out tiny ripples across the placid surface of accordionist Satoko Fujii‘s gentle melodic phrasings. Opening track “Tama” settles into serenity more than any other, and this is no obstacle for the trio to make the melody resonate both solemn and hopeful tones at equally high frequencies. There are a few instances of the trio chipping away at the serenity. “Yuzu” breaks out the melodic parts as if a succession of monologues, up until that moment they all rejoin the storyline in a magnificent show of unison for the finale, and “Tora” takes a quick stab at some dissonance before returning to a more peaceful state of existence.
A little bit of context: Tragically, this ensemble has lost two members in far too short a span of time. Reformation and a changing vision are never an easy thing to do, but Neko admirably serves as both a solemn tribute to those who are no longer with us and a clear statement of what’s to come from those who remain. But this is a strong and beautiful album in any context.
Your album personnel: Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), Yasuko Kaneko (trombone) and Satoko Fujii (accordion).
Released on Libra Records.
Music from Tokyo.
Available at: no standard retail options available