Yasukazu Amemiya ‘Zen Percussions’

Yasukazu Amemiya 'Zen Percussions' LP front coverYasukazu Amemiya 'Zen Percussions' LP back cover
Yasukazu Amemiya

French audiophile edition of Yasukazu Amemiya‘s 1977 percussion classic Summer Prayer (RCA Japan LP, RVC 2154), which originally also included Morton Feldman’s King of Denmark. Being pressed at 45rpm speed, the disc conveys great dynamics, from subtle nuances to powerful membranophone resonances. Amemiya studied percussion and became a professional solo performer in Tokyo during the 1960s, before moving to New York in 1973. He composed Summer Prayer there in 1974, which was first performed by five US percussionists. Here, Amemiya performs all parts himself and, thanks to re-recording, he’s heard on piano strings, tympani, bowed cymbals, marimba, bells and steel drums and so on. The composition describes a day in a Buddhist monk’s life, the music’s great dynamic mirroring the meditative stillness or great agitation of his impressionable state of mind.

Original LP cover artSomewhat programmatic music like Debussy’s La Mer, Monochrome Sea, composed 1976, deploys subtle tone colors from an array of percussion instruments including marimba, steel drums and gongs, among others, as well as a prerecorded tape of a vibraphone played with a bow and minimal sound effects, sounding like wailing sirens in the background. Describing both depths of the sea and surface of water events, the composition succeeds in evoking gurgling waters, large swarms of fishes, agitated living organisms and mysterious sea creatures.

  1. Summer Prayer – Natsu Nebutsu (13:46)
    For Solo Percussionist, Tape and Percussion Ensemble
  2. Monochrome Sea (21:48)
    For Solo Percussionist and Tape

Total time 35:34
LP released by RCA France, 1978


7 Responses to “Yasukazu Amemiya ‘Zen Percussions’”

  1. 1 icastico March 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Very much appreciated.

  2. 2 wightdj March 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Very eager to spend time absorbing this post. Thanks.

  3. 3 continuo March 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Enjoy, guys!

  4. 4 ICTUS75 March 6, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Excellent!!! As a percussionist I really appreciate the rare & obscure percussion & sound sculpture recordings you have posted. Thanks and I look forward to future posts.

  5. 5 ICTUS75 March 6, 2010 at 6:42 am

    BTW, would you have any recordings by Japanese percussionist Sumire Yoshihara??? She released a series of recordings called ‘Sound Space Of Percussion’ that are Japan only and very difficult to find (both LP & CD).

  6. 6 continuo March 6, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I don’t have anything by Sumire Yoshihara, though the album’s title sounds interesting. Thanks for dropping by.

  7. 7 giorgio magnanensi January 6, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I have a few CDs by Sumire Yoshihara.
    Be in touch at info@giorgiomagnanensi.com and I’ll send you copies if you wish.

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