Pianist Makiko Hirabayashi and trumpeter and french horn-player Flemming Agerskov share common backgrounds in jazz as well as classical music, and the cultural differences between Japan and Scandinavia are an important factor in the music they create together. They have worked together before in several projects, and now, back in the duo format, they have recorded Binocular with Italian accordionist Francesco Calì as a featured guest on some selections. The music – all originals by Hirabayashi and Agerskov – is poetic, translucent and abstract. For maximum intensity, they recorded in Norway’s famous Rainbow Studio in Oslo with legendary engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug, whose sensitive and uncompromising approach completes the picture.
The labyrinthine simplicity of this magical music hits where sensibilities run deepest with the exquisite aesthetics that draw attention at home and abroad, where Scandinavian jazz is so appreciated. Binocular vision is the term used for what we see when using both eyes. Binocular vision provides more depth than monocular vision. In a musical sense: Here we have two instruments and two musicians with very different voices merging into one musical landscape. Writing short pieces in a kind of chamber-musical format with elements of improvisation is another step towards the binocular set of mind: an equality between composition and improvisation suspending the boundaries between soloist and accompanist, the prepared and the intuitive, and the balance between form and freedom. It means focusing holistically while zooming in on details. This what Makiko Hirabayashi’s and Flemming Agerskov’s music is about: enabling the listener to close her eyes, see her own movie and zoom in on colors, landscapes, movements, various moods and enticing themes and motifs.
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