MusicSafari 3: Ocean breath (CD Review)

Ocean Breath

by the Breath Trio (Anne Norman, shakuhachi ; Sanshi, didgeridoo ; and Reo Matsumoto, beatbox)

ocean breath











Ocean Breath, released in 2013, features original works for a unique ensemble combining shakuhachi, didgeridoo and beatbox (voice percussion). The remarkable feature of this ensemble is that the shakuhachi is played by an Australian (Anne Norman) while the didgeridoo is play by a Japanese (Sanshi), and they both demonstrate the highest level of mastery of their instruments on the tracks of this CD. Both Anne and Sanshi have successfully taken the shakuhachi and the didgeridoo beyond their traditions to enter a new musical space that corresponds well with the contemporary world.

At times the shakuhachi produces haunting and meditative melodies that remind listeners of the Japanese tradition. At other times, it evokes extremely lively and rhythmic atmosphere that make listeners feel to dance along. The didgeridoo part is also remarkable. At times, it has the stable, lingering and timeless characteristics of Australian Aboriginal music, but at other times, it is intensively dynamic to drive the rhythm of the music. I particularly like the way Sanshi creates the drones on long notes which gradually change the intensity and shape to evoke the atmosphere of the music. When the long flows of the shakuhachi and/or the didgeridoo are combined with the amazing rich palette of beatbox sounds and noises, a set of works that are highly captivating are born.

While all the tracks are worth of repeated listening, I particularly love Tidal Drift, The Sea that Connects (with Anne playing the fipple flute instead of the shakuhachi) and Ocean Breath for their exquisite structural flow and balanced texture. I also like the atmosphere evoked in Through the Mist (a duet of shakuhachi and didgeridoo). I was deeply moved by The Tears of Pearl (for Shakuhachi and bell). The last piece, Bodhisattva Blessing, is a very beautiful composition featuring deep throat voice and harmonic voice, shakuhachi and bell.

You can listen to the whole CD online at: Anne Norman’s Bandcamp site

For more information about the Breath trio, visit their website: Breath Trio


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