Just Outside

Koboku Senjû is Tetuzi Akiyama (guitar), Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board), Espen Reinertsen (saxophones, flute), Eivind Lønning (trumpet) and Martin Taxt (tuba)--a wonderful mixture of textures, first of all. Those colors are always evident, enlivening a track or two that might otherwise stall a bit, but the better pieces, especially the first and last cuts, are small gems. Akiyama stays on acoustic and leans toward melodic blues references--this is key, I think, toward impelling the quintet into slightly more tonal waters, where the music really solidifies and takes off. Perfect balance is achieved by Toshi as well; he's really a central element here, his electronics leavening the horns. Reinertsen's saxophone gets a bit to saxophone-y in a Gustafsson sense on occasion, but the pieces are never less than satisfying and sometimes a good bit more. Something about the set reminded me, generally speaking, of the Beins/Neumann «lidingo» on Erstwhile; not sure what, exactly. Strong release, really fine at its peak, looking forward to seeing them in a few weeks.