Kōhei Amada, Sugai Ken – Kyogokuryu-Sōkyoku "Shinshunfu"
A peculiar 10” release from EM records follows their tradition of pairing a mid-century recording with a contemporary cover on one thoughtful slab of wax. The original version of “Shinshunfu” was composed by Kōhei Amada in the mid-1950s and performed with the sympathizing sounds of koto, shō (bamboo flute), taiko (bass drum) and Irish harp. In two parts, the performance begins as a duet between koto and harp, before morphing into an arresting song highlighted by sustained vocal phrases and punctuated by the warm, reverberant hit of the taiko. Sugai Ken’s interpretation begins with an immersive recording of rushing water before descending into an environmental collage of space birds, irregular beat and processed vocals, a kind of transhuman rendering of the preceding piece. An endlessly mystifying listen.