JVT0011 (Jvtlandt 2014)

Total playing time [33:39]




12" vinyl in heavy tip-on gatefold cover

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Otomo Yoshihide: Guitar
Paal Nilssen-Love: Drums

Recorded at Copenhagen JazzHouse 4 May 2013
Recording Engineer: Martin Vognsen
House Engineer: Michael Gunther
Mix & Mastering: Martin Vognsen
Photos: Lasse Marhaug (Otomo/Nilssen-Love), Katsura Yamauchi (others)
Design: Martin Vognsen

Produced by Paal Nilssen-Love and Martin Vognsen



Featuring Otomo Yoshihide on guitar and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. This set was recorded live at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse on May 4 of 2013. I played this disc loud in the store the other day (7/7/14) and was knocked out by the duo. Way intense! Mr. Yoshihide is one of the most gifted and diverse musicians and bandleaders to emerge from Japan in the last 1/4 century. Besides being a great electric guitarist (check out early Ground Zero), he also is a formidable turntablist and electronic wizard. He is a restless explorer who combines multiple genres, styles or ideas at his own whim. After a series of amazing (in-between-categories) discs for the Tzadik label, he contributed to a number of groundbreaking improv sessions for the controversial Erstwhile label. His New Jazz Quintet and Orchestra projects remain a favorite to many of his devoted fans. For this session, Otomo teams up with powerhouse drummer for The Thing and Atomic, Paal Nilssen-Love, another diverse and ultra-creative drummer who works with dozens of like-minded players from around the globe (Peter Brotzmann, Akira Sakata, Arto Lindsay & Scorch Trio). This disc is fabulous, brutal in part, consistently focused and engaging! This set is not just over-the-top but a more balanced excursion. There is a section in the first third which is somber, eerie and filled with suspense. Quiet feedback and bowed or rubbed strings. Mr. Nilssen-Love is the perfect duo partner and has recorded more than a dozen duo discs throughout the years. At nearly 34 minutes, one might think that this disc was not long enough, but this is not the case. I was at the edge of my seat for the entire length of this totally cosmic duo session!

Bruce Lee Gallanter / Downtown Music Gallery, New York

An occasional bulletin from an area we seldom cover these days (it’s well enough covered elsewhere), this is an excellent, nicely shaped, improvised set with Otomo on guitar – a lot of Sonny Sharrock in there – and Paal drums, always to the point. Recorded live at the Copenhagen Jazz House in 2013, it has the kind of focus and shape that good gigs have and studio recordings don’t.

Chris Cutler / Recommended Records




The musical bond between Japanese guitarist and sound sculptor Otomo Yoshihide and Norwegian powerhouse drummer Paal Nilssen-Love was solidified through previous successful collaborations. First with Nilssen-Love Scandinavian power trio The Thing's Shinjuku Crawl, (Smalltown Superjazz, 2009), then with Peter Brotzmann's Chicago Tentet Concert for Fukushima Wels 2011 DVD, (PanRec, 2013) and finally with an ad-hoc trio with fellow Norwegian noise master Lasse Marhaug Explosion Course, (PNL, 2013).

The new recording of these expressive musicians was recorded at the Jazzhouse Club in Copenhagen, but, as can be expected, there is no attempt to form an intimate musical atmosphere. It features both musicians in top form, demonstrating their versatile and diverse improvisational strategies and imaginative ideas about sound, pulse and space.

The 34-minute piece begins with a dense wall of aggressive sounds—torrents of metallic guitar lines and muscular, tough drumming, both Yoshihide and Nilssen-Love pushing each other to his limits. But the two do not attach themselves to any specific form. Soon the high-octane attack morphs to patient, spare sonic searches. Yoshihide focuses on investigation of the resonant spectrum of the strummed guitar strings, creates beautiful, nuanced minuscule sound events, while Nilssen-Love answers him with clever employment of the cymbals surfaces. These sonic meditations methodically gain volume and power until its inevitable volcanic catharsis. But, again, Yoshihide and Nillsen- Love's musical vocabularies are too rich to allow both to be immersed in one specific form of interplay. The boundless energy of both is channeled to a rhythmical play, not rooted in any pattern, first led by a drum solo of Nilssen-Love, and then the two return to a tight aggressive interplay, spiced even with distorted funky lines, until the climatic coda.


Eyal Hareuveni / AllAboutJazz

Rolling Stone Lists/20 Best Avant Albums of 2014

A live Copenhagan summit between two full-contact jazz-mosh muckmakers: Ground Zero's psych-noise guitarist Otomo Yoshihide and the Thing's manic drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. They have a little more than three speeds in this 33-minute piece of improv: pure chaos, unsettling cymbal-squeaking ambience and something mid-paced that sounds like Sonic Youth or the Melvins finishing a song. Yoshihide is still one of a kind, his guitar yowling, screaming, ranting, cutting like a turntable or just playing walls of Dead C-style noise while Nilssen-Love — one of jazz's most heavy-metal drummers — goes Whiplash.

Rolling Stone Magazine

A bit of information that sometimes seems forgotten: Otomo Yoshihide also plays the guitar. I think many of the works we reviewed had him playing his turntable, but he's of course also the man behind Ground Zero. Here he picks up the six stringed beast again, and for thirty-three minutes and thirty nine seconds he improvises with Norway's drummer machine (especially a machine when it comes to releasing his music) Paal Nilssen-Love. A concert recording from the Jazzhouse in Copenhagen last year. Most of the time is a heavy release, devoid; it seems of anything that someone mildly interested would recognize as jazz music I should think. It's however totally free music, and pretty loud at that. More free noise rock than anything else. Otomo's guitar howls and screams around and is always close to feedback and distortion. One long guitar solo set against Nilssen-Love's rapid gunfire drums. It has the length of a prog rock song, but the energy of a punk song and the violence of some great noise. This is one ear-cleansing ride. One to play loud and one to play on repeat for a couple of time. Excellent recording of an excellent concert. It even comes with a section that can be qualified as introspective. Odd but true.

Frans de Waard / Vital Weekly

This recording—from Copenhagen JazzHouse, 4 May 2013—drops the user right into the action, as Yoshihide—probably playing with the two-pronged loop of rebar that he favours as an industrial-style pick—whips lacerating barbs of guitar into instantly turbulent percussion. His switch to chordal sustains after just four minutes steadies the performance, drawing Nilssen-Loves rumpus down to a racing heartbeat. Eight minutes in, and Yoshihide’s tapping out gong sounds amid high-pitch sustains and reverbed bell-tone resonances, all reverberating in carefully controlled feedback.

Yet more rarefied guitar soundings echo the minimal no-input electronics Yoshihide explores elsewhere with Sachiko M, to which Nilssen-Love responds with light bell-tones and the rustling of percussion peripherals, growing more focused and agitative only as Yoshihide pierces blossoming feedback with sustained contact sounds, feeding a billowing miasma of static distortion. By the time the guitarist begins to spool out scorching high-tension licks a la Fushitsusha, Nilssen-Love is combining hard-kicking backbeats with splashy polyrhythmic rounds.

Rarely one to lose himself in a free-for-all, Yoshihide soon reels things in again with high-contrast, acidically bluesy fretwork, prompting a punchy full-kit solo from Nilssen-Love. As this eases off Yoshihide re-enters, initially playing pure FX, sounding just like a warning siren at one point, and then lets rip with uncooked psych-rock soloing, and Nilsen-Love responds by keeping his rhythms hyper-stoked. The rest of the set plays out at a pitch of high intensity.

At 33:38 this is a short album, but its yield is concentrated and supremely potent. It ends on a gradual fade-out, as Yoshihide locks into a rotor groove, a gradual descent cushioned by Nilssen-Love’s calmando response. I usually hate fades, but this one works nicely.

Tom Owen / Dalston Sound

Expecting a noise-fest? Well, yes and no, firstly this album contains one long piece of improvised music, recorded live at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse in May 2013, which has naturally occurring contrasting sections that not only give the overall piece real shape and structure, but also create an emotional depth. Although completely free flowing, this involves a gradual switching, which is done with great execution, between the intense and loud opening maelstrom textures to much more reflective & sensual sounds and then back again.

Whilst listening to this piece, which lasts just over the half-hour mark, I found it almost impossible not to compare Yoshihide’s playing to that of his mentor, the late and great Masayuki Takayanagi, with the music at times sounding like an essay based on some of his albums such as Kaitai Teki Kohkan or April is the Cruellest Month.

Paal Nilsson-Love busies himself carrying the energy of the music on a wave of batterie-induced momentum, such as Krautrock legends Ash Ra Tempel did on their debut album. There is great involvement in the music from the drummer and pounding beats gradually develop into skittish rhythms with such ease as he drives the music on whilst being sensitive to the chemistry happening between the two instruments, especially in the more reflective middle section where extended techniques such as (what sounds like) bowed cymbals are carefully applied to the soundscape. There is a great moment where Yoshihide’s guitar is feeding back whilst being processed through some effects resulting in harmonic sweeps, which sound like an air raid siren due to a similar sliding glissando of harmonic spectra.

Although effectively a duo of electric guitar (Otomo Yoshihide) and drums (Paal Nilsson-Love), there is a real fullness to this album as both these instruments are exploited not only for their power but also for their introspective ability as well.

While there is nothing new necessarily happening here it is an extremely enjoyable album of improvised music, which is performed with a natural expertise from these two musicians, and grows with you on each new listen as all good music usually does.

Chris Haines / The Free Jazz Blog

Recorded live at Copenhagen Jazzhouse in May 2013, this is a short, sharp and nicely formed slab of free improv from ever inexhaustible tub-thumper Nilssen-Love paired up with Japanese multi-instrumentalist Yoshihide playing what can only be described as some seriously ripped and furious guitar detonations.The 34-minute recording erupts suddenly at absolute full pelt as if the recording engineer has, by accident or design, missed out on any tentative early probings between the two musicians and only hit the right button at the point where the players are already working their way into oblivion, Nilssen-Love pounding a rhythmic fusillade as Yoshihide stretches and tears up power chords. Things actually settle down slightly after that opening firestorm, the players putting aside notions of testosterone-fuelled power duels in favour of sparser territories almost as though the beginning was the end and everything that follows an unexpected epilogue.

Euan Andrews / Rock-A-Rolla, Issue 51

The electric guitar is the most conventional instrument composer, conceptualist and bandleader Otomo Yoshihide plays. Like his playing of the turntable, his approach to the guitar is visceral, sometimes brutal, and like the turntable (which he plays as a noise-generating device, without using records) he is physically responsible for generating the sounds — something rather different than his laptop music. His attack is similar on the guitar and the turntable — explosive barrages in search of feedback to let ring — but it's on the guitar, a lexicon so familiar over the last 75 years, that we can most here his inventive mind in the heat of the moment.

Stronger in expression than finesse, Yoshihide shares with such (very different) guitarists as Derek Bailey, Marc Ribot and James Blood Ulmer an interest in the noises the instrument is capable of making as well as phases recalled from more popular styles. His playing on his cover of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" (recorded with both his New Jazz Quintet and New Jazz Orchestra) underscores this treatment of abrasive noise as a relevant part of music making (as opposed to being somehow "anti-music").

The self-titled half-hour duet with drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (perfunctorily titled after both their names with the single track titled after the date of the recording) is a rather rare chance to hear Yoshihide in a more spontaneous setting. He has released solo guitar records in addition to his ensemble work but interacting in a duo setting with a drummer as powerful and demonstrative as Paal Nilssen-Love affords Yoshihide the chance to move freely while being pushed. They've recorded together before — in trio with Norwegian noise master Lasse Marhaug and with Yoshihide sitting in with Nilssen-Love's power trio The Thing — but here they are heard in fast-paced dialogue. What stands out most is how responsive each of them is, what quick thinkers they are. They move in waves, occasionally hitting on jammy tropes (there are moments of Hendrix and Bonham phrasing too quick to be considered quotes) but mostly just nimbly ambling and pounding about, occasionally torquing the electrified excitement into the red. It's hardly the best album by either of them, nor their best album together, but it's certainly an invigorating listen.

The Squid's Ear

Ohne vorher extra anzuklopfen, platzt diese Aufnahme mitten ins Nonstop-Konzert von Otomo Yoshihide & Paal Nilssen-Love, abgehalten im  JazzHouse Kopenhagen, veröffentlicht auf dem Label des Musikerkollegen Martin Vognsen, der sowohl in Dänemark als auch in Japan eine Jvtlandt-Niederlassung unterhält. Es handelt sich sohin um eine Unhöflichkeit, die wohl dem Fassungsvermögen einer Plattenlänge geschuldet ist. Ansonsten sehen wir wenig Neues unter der dänischen Sonne: Nilssen-Love trommelt wie immer die Felle und die Becken wund, Otomo „spielt“ ungewöhnlich viel Gitarre, verursacht keine bohrenden Sinustöne, keine sonstigen Attacken aufs Gehör resp. auf die Trommelfelle – womit wir wieder beim Schlagzeuger angelangt wären. Die Aufnahme eines Livemitschnitts befördert freilich die Direktheit der Musik, ihre Unmittelbarkeit, andererseits fehlen vorgedachte Strukturen oder gar Konzepte zur Gänze. Dennoch oder deshalb ist das eine saugute Liveplatte, nicht mehr, nicht weniger.

Andreas Fellinger / Freistil

De manière générale, j’ai parlé dans cette série de musiciens qui se démarquaient des musiques expérimentales actuelles, qui abordaient la guitare ou la musique d’une manière singulière, mais il ne faudrait pas non plus oublier certains musiciens que l’on connaît depuis longtemps, qui ne surprennent plus forcément, mais jouent toujours aussi bien. Ainsi j’avais vu Otomo Yoshihide l’année dernière en concert pour un solo de guitare basé principalement sur le larsen et le noise, avec quelques excursions dans le jazz, dont une inévitable reprise de Lonely Woman d’Ornette Coleman. On connaît le(s) vocabulaire(s) d’Otomo Yoshihide, un musicien énormément influencé par le free jazz, le japanoise, et le mouvement onkyo, trois mouvements qui l’ont influencé et qu’il a autant influencé en retour.

Quand j’ai découvert la musique d’Otomo Yoshihide, la surprise fût énorme, autant que le ravissement. Mais une fois la surprise passée, l’engouement s’essouffle et revient au fil du temps. On se rend compte qu’il tourne en rond, puis que tout de même, il a beau stagner parfois, ce qu’il fait, il le fait très bien. Tout ça pour dire qu’une fois qu’on a un peu fait le tour de se musique, les surprises deviennent vite de plus en plus rares, et quand je l’ai vu en concert, je ne m’attendais à rien d’autre que ce que j’ai vu. Et évidemment, sur ses disques, c’est un peu la même chose, comme sur le récent duo Otomo Yoshihide & Paal Nilssen-Love, autre musicien qui joue aussi très bien, mais toujours pareil.

Dans les milieux critiques, et plus particulièrement au sein des musiques nouvelles et expérimentales, c’est souvent très négatif de dire qu’un musicien ne se renouvelle pas. Mais pour certains, je ne vois pas forcément où est le problème. Le quartet de Coltrane accompagné de Dolphy aurait pu jouer des décennies comme ils jouaient, ça ne m’aurait pas dérangé, Derek Bailey a toujours joué de la même manière, ainsi qu’Evan Parker, comme Phill Niblock compose toujours la même pièce. Quand le langage inventé, ou le matériau sonore exploité est assez riche et/ou puissant, autant l’épuiser… Et c’est bien le cas de Paal Nilssen-Love & Otomo Yoshihide je trouve.

Le duo ne propose rien d’autre que ce qu’on attend d’eux. Une improvisation d’une trentaine de minutes, qui malgré les accalmies, part vite dans les blasts et les larsens. Même si chaque élément de la batterie est entièrement exploité pour en faire un instrument mélodique parfois, même si les cordes de la guitare sont aussi pincées à de nombreuses reprises (de manière très noise-rock tout de même) ; le duo exploite surtout le filon du free-rock, ou du free noise. Un batteur suédois qui côtoie régulièrement, entre autres monstres de la noise et du free, Mats Gustafsson et Lasse Marhaug, et un guitariste japonais qui a également collaboré avec toutes les plus grandes figures des musiques extrêmes, il ne faut pas s’attendre à autre chose qu’à une demi-heure de larsens et d’explosions rythmiques. Mais tant mieux, parce que ces deux là, ils font ça depuis des années, et ils savent très bien le faire, donc on n’écoute pas ce genre de disque pour être surpris, mais juste pour se prendre une bonne claque, et ça marche.

Julien Héraud / improv-sphere

Paal NILLSEN-LOVE, batteur norvégien de son état, aura confronté le martellement de ses peaux avec toute la fine fleur qui évolue aux confins bâtards du jazz le plus libre et échevelé; que ce soit en solo, en duo (avec Peter Brötzmann, Ken Vandermark ou encore Terrie "EX" Hessels...), et notamment au sein de The THING, power-jazz trio qui n’hésite pas à verser dans la noise au gré des collaborations.
Otomo YOSHIHIDE est une légende, underground s’il en est, dont seul le Japon en a le secret (à l'instar de Keiji Haino, du collectif Boredoms, K.K Null ou Masami Akita - aka Merzbow) . Maniant les platines disque de façon "peu orthodoxe" (=extrême) et l’électronique pointue, tout autant que le manche de guitare, il brasse les styles goulûment, les retranchant le plus souvent dans leurs limites. Ce n’est pas la première fois que les deux acolytes se rencontrent, Otomo Yoshihidé ayant déjà tapé le boeuf avec The THING.
Captation d’un concert à Copenhague en mai 2013, le présent disque voit YOSHIHIDE dépouillé de tout oripeau électronique, guitar-hero assis croisant le fer avec un batteur tendu à l’extrême. Duo et duel flirtent dangereusement pour fusionner dans un déluge de notes chauffées à blanc, poursuivies par une polyrythmie implacable. Certes, il n'y a là rien de bien nouveau dans ce genre de prestation, si ce n’est cet instant du moment de LA rencontre, qui se substitue à la note bleue, et surtout la force de conviction sans faille d'exécutants aguerris, qui régurgitent dans leurs idiomes respectifs, un héritage commun qui a bien dû commencer quelque part entre les délires acidifiés d’Hendrix et l’atypique Interstellar Space de John Coltrane. La petite histoire se poursuivant aussi bien avec Ash-Ra Tempel, un cryptique Rudolph Grey/Blue Humans, Ascension (duo introuvable !) ou encore le Caspar Brötzmann Massaker (fils de Peter...), William Hooker qui jamme avec Thurston "sonic" Moore... Passeurs de relais et maillons d’une chaîne sans fin, NILLSEN-LOVE et YOSHIHIDE, jouent, simplement, et déversent leur trop plein d’énergie dans nos oreilles fertiles encore avides d’excès. Au final, c'est la notion de space-rock qui prendra du plomb dans l’aile, le jazz se voit sérieusement décrassé, et on en arriverait à penser que le rock est un genre ennuyeux et prévisible.
Simple, radical, et porté par l’inspiration du moment. De ces rencontres telluriques qui peuplent encore le monde de l’improvisation libre (et sauvage).

un(e) energumene



Jazz Japan, August 2014

Den norske trumstormen Paal Nilssen-Love och den japanske gitarrmogulen Otomo Yoshihide behöver knappast någon introduktion vid det här laget. Båda är extremt produktiva med alla tänkbara konstellationer och projekt bakom sig utan att det har känts lamt eller som en kopp för mycket av något.

Däremot kanske inte allt känns otroligt relevant. Denna livesession mellan Yoshihide och Nilssen-Love från Jazzhouse i Köpenhamn förra året bjuder på ett drygt trettio minuter långt stycke friform som jag inbillar mig hade en betydligt större intensitet in situ. Musiken tar visserligen tag in en liksom i en storm redan från de första sekunderna, men ganska snart känns det mer som en motvind, eller paradoxalt som en stillastående storm. Det kan sägas att väldigt mycket händer, men också att inget händer; ett inte alltför ovanligt problem inom frijazzen.

Det är svårt att peka på vad som inte tänder mig. Båda musikerna är kolossalt bra. Som sagt var det nog betydligt mer övertygande på Jazzhouse än på denna cd, där den katastrofala ljudbilden med dominerande elgitarr i förgrunden och tunga, ganska grumliga trummor i bakgrunden skapar en obalans som gör att man som lyssnare börja tänka på hur det egentligen lät snarare än hur det låter här och nu. Det danska skivbolaget Jvtlandt är ett intressant bolag med många bra releaser hittills, så frågan är vad som drivit dem att satsa på att släppa just detta.

Johan Redin / soundofmusic.nu, September 2014