Ayako Shinozaki

Music Now For Harp

WeWantSounds • 1974

One of the great things about the world is that there is so much out there that is undiscovered, or at least largely unknown. You can go and discover for yourself and rejoice in it. Like harpist Ayako Shinozaki’s album »Music Now for Harp«, released almost 50 years ago in 1974, on which she performs new music for her instrument composed by Toru Takemitsu and Katsuhiro Tsubono. The oldest work is Takemitsu’s »Stanza II« from 1971. It features open, airy pieces with a strong sense of space and a pleasing lack of virtuosity. The highlight is a 25-minute epic on the second side, recorded with violinist and composer Takehisa Kosugi, an enigmatic encounter between alienated violin sounds, scattered percussion and quietly advancing dynamics.  

One could imagine an avant-garde version of Laraaji’s hand-beaten zither ambiences – in music criticism, comparisons tend to follow the impulse to make it clear that one has already heard more than one record in one’s life. Shinozaki doesn’t need to use a male counterpart as a yardstick; her music stands perfectly well on its own. Instead of cottony soft surfaces, she spins fine threads that you can slowly weave into a giant fabric in your ear. And already the world has become a little more beautiful.