Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Geoff Leigh and Yumi Hara Team Up to Good Result

Yumi Hara's previous CD with the late, legendary bassist Hugh Hopper was reviewed favorably on my site. She returns here with Geoff Leigh on winds and electronics. Mr. Leigh has an impressive background; he's been with Henry Cow, Hatfield and the North (which I must listen to more closely, having missed them in my earlier years), Mike Oldfield, Faust, and significant others. Yumi has an equally impressive resume, but since I've gone over that in my review of her last album, I'll leave you to refer to that (see link above).

For their new CD collaboration Upstream (MoonJune) the two present a program of adventure into the lesser explored musical thickets. Yumi's keyboard work and vocals are of her own creative volition. Her vocals are avant without getting under your skin, which can be the case sometimes, and she mans her arsenal of keys with a real sense of drama. Geoff sounds almost shakuhachi-like on the flute, with a beautiful use of space and sense of form. His soprano is game. His electronics atmospheric.

Upstream is outside music, in the good sense of that term. It has a kind of narrative flow that these kinds of duets can sometimes lack. I must say that listening to it has brought me a good deal of pleasure.

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