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Eiko Ishibashi - For McCoy Music Album Reviews

Eiko Ishibashi - For McCoy Music Album Reviews
The Japanese multi-instrumentalist enlists Jim O’Rourke for an unusual fusion of jazz improv, musique concrète, and plaintive pop that pays tribute to Law & Order’s Jack McCoy.

Eiko Ishibashi’s career is punctuated with stark contrasts. In only the last few years, the Japanese multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter has dabbled in free-form electronics, lush chamber piano, and saccharine pop tunes for the score of a potentially Oscar-nominated film, continuing a process of self-reinvention that has been a through line of her solo career since the start. It’s not uncommon for an ambitious artist to work across a range of genres, but what stands out about Ishibashi is how deep she can go in any direction; her experimental work lies far out in left field, yet her pop songs can be exceptionally precious. Her myriad styles often run along parallel tracks, rarely intermingling. “It’s like all these things that were coexisting in myself weren’t coexisting in one piece of music,” Ishibashi told Tone Glow in 2020. In 2018, The Dream My Bones Dream tore down the walls that had kept Ishibashi’s talents partitioned, synthesizing disparate influences into a personal work that uses its dramatic fluctuations to build an audible narrative. Ishibashi would return to developing her interests separately for a while, but they were destined for another collision course once she had another story to tell. For McCoy represents another marker of progress for the ever-changing musician.

Ishibashi wrote For McCoy—self-released in 2021, now reissued by Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle with a new mix courtesy of Ishibashi’s frequent collaborator and fellow jack-of-all-trades Jim O’Rourke—as a tribute to Law & Order’s iconic Jack McCoy, Ishibashi’s favorite character from her favorite TV drama. The long-running criminal procedural is a constant in Ishibashi’s daily life, serving as background noise when O’Rourke and Ishibashi cook and eat dinner together. “Almost every day when I was making For McCoy, [Jack McCoy’s] voice was always echoing through the house,” Ishibashi said in an interview with Tone Madison. The composer frequently uses field recordings in her music as a means of paying homage to the everyday sounds that inspire her, so it made sense to treat Jack McCoy with a similar reverence. “Because McCoy’s personal life is rarely discussed in the drama, I wanted to scoop it up with my music,” she said.

With an ensemble of her closest collaborators in tow—including O’Rourke, percussionist Joe Talia, and saxophonist Daisuke Fujiwara—Ishibashi takes a tour through the musical styles that have captured her fascination in the years since The Dream My Bones Dream. For McCoy rests somewhere in that nexus of improvisational jazz, musique concrète, and plaintive pop music.

The lion’s share of the LP is taken up by the 35-minute “I can feel guilty about anything,” which plays out like a wordless drama. The track opens with a porous layering of descending flute melodies—reminiscent of the ascending flute in Law & Order’s main theme—before melting away against a warm swell of synthesizer and voice. Talia dances in with a darting cymbal fill before locking into a steady rhythm, while Fujiwara weighs in with small bites of saxophone. Each moment is given a distinct but fleeting shape before giving way to the next, like a series of scenes that set the stage for McCoy to move through.

The piece begins to loom larger as it transitions to the second side of the LP, with violin slowly surging from a low to high register against a backdrop of unintelligible speech. It’s evocative of a point of conflict, perhaps a presentation of oral arguments in the courtroom. As the music oscillates between modes, coalescing into something resembling song and dispersing back into formlessness, it invites the listener to imagine where McCoy might be and what he might be feeling. Ishibashi introduces a sweet vocal melody near the end of the piece, stretching it out to a suspenseful infinity—is this the end of McCoy’s story, or an indication that there’s more to come? Ishibashi’s personal stake in the narrative is palpable, and it’s hard not to feel invested yourself.

Ishibashi teases bits of sonorous melody throughout the half-hour cinematic suite, finally crystallizing them into a sparkling jewel on the album’s short coda, “Ask me how I sleep at night.” Joining Ishibashi’s soaring flute is a rhythm section of Tatsuhisa Yamamoto on drums and O’Rourke on double bass, with tinges of wistful saxophone and guitar. The groove is striking in its contrast to the amorphous organism preceding it, but doesn’t feel jarring. Ishibashi has built up to this conclusion skillfully, foreshadowing hints with the flourish of a seasoned storyteller. It’s a cut to the credits, putting a cap on the bittersweet tale of a hardened district attorney. For McCoy plays to Eiko Ishibashi’s most potent strength, utilizing the pull of polar extremes to simulate the ups and downs of a gripping drama.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Eiko Ishibashi - For McCoy Music Album Reviews Eiko Ishibashi - For McCoy Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, February 10, 2022 Rating: 5

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