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CD review: Music for Isolation

Rie Takeuchi & Gideon Juckes
Digital Album
Gururiyoza Records



This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes

The works of the late Irish poet and Hegelian author John O’Donoghue are the perfect accompaniment to this intriguing digital CD release from the Tokyo based duo of baritone saxophonist Rie Takeuchi and tuba player Gideon Juckes.

A mix of spirituality and logical dogma weaves repetitive patterns and processes through the eight tracks; from the bleak, mournful ‘Black Heath’, to the tender hopefulness of ‘Travel to the Island’, inspired by a secret Japanese Christian hymn (originally from Spain), which ebbs away to nothingness to close… perfect for time spent alone. 

Gunmetal cold

Although the overall sound palette is monochrome, it is subtly shaded throughout;  Juckes and Takeuchi intuitively playing with coolly defined osmosis to portray blends of tonal greys and effect manipulations - from warm, thickly coated leaden, to rigid, gunmetal cold to suit the minimalist sparseness of the music with its hints of Michael Nyman constructs.

Although the overall sound palette is monochrome, it is subtly shaded throughout;  Juckes and Takeuchi intuitively playing with coolly defined osmosis to portray blends of tonal greys and effect manipulations - from warm, thickly coated leaden, to rigid, gunmetal cold to suit the minimalist sparseness of the music with its hints of Michael Nyman constructs.

There is lightness that permeates though with the quirky ‘Tatlagiin Kholboo’,  with Juckes making the tuba sound like a Mongolian alphorn instead of the traditional horsehead morin khuur fiddle, and the dignified Japanese dance ‘Iomante Rimse’  with its slow, pulsing delicacy.

Amid this comes ‘Praise to the Lord’  which joyfully emerges out of the drizzling ether, and ‘John of the Greeney Cheshire Way’; a triple time hornpipe which quickly finds its feet to jig playfully on its haphazard way.  

Self contained

The two extended tracks of ‘Chaconne in D Minor’  and the ‘Dormition of the Mother of God’  certainly draw you into a self-contained isolation of their own.  

The former is a clever realisation of de Sainte-Colombe’s 17th century work that gradually builds in free-thinking oddity over its mannered ground bass foundation, whilst the latter, with its garden birdsong twitter and distant urban rumble to open, soon darkens in mood and melancholy with its oblique, glacial tethering to John Taverner’s somnolent original. 

You are left alone in twilight social distancing, eyelids drooping, ready to fall into the arms of Morpheus.  

Iwan Fox


To purchase: https://www.gideonjuckes.com/

https://www.gideonjuckes.com/blog/2020/6/21/music-for-isolation-out-now

Play list:

1. The Black Heath 
2. John of the Greeney Cheshire Way
3. Tatlagiin Kholboo
4. Chaconne in D Minor
5. Iomante Rimse
6. Dormition of the Mother God 
7. Praise to the Lord
8. Travel to the Island 

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