Review: Tetuzi Akiyama & John Krausbauer – Gift (Erototox Decodings, Jan 15)

Granted, I haven’t heard too much of Tetuzi Akiyama’s music—in improvisational contexts, the sparse, clear, tonal guitar style he often uses doesn’t appeal to me at all—but what I have heard definitely did not prepare me for the startling radiance of Gift, a new 7″ collaboration with composer/curator John Krausbauer that strips drone music back to its raw acoustic roots. Both “A Prayer” and “An Omen” are five-minute beams of dust-encrusted light, generated via the primordial fusion of electric guitar, effects, and delay (Akiyama) and amplified violin and feedback (Krausbauer). The grandiose yet restrained energy behind the reverential meditations is easily reminiscent of the genre’s founding legends—the Dream Syndicate/ToEM, Flynt, Oliveros—but not to the point that it feels like just a tribute or throwback. Both musicians are playing with purpose here, conjuring their own tapestries of thick, gritty transcendence and then filling in any blanks left by the other’s like collaborative painters, forming a majestic twofold current whose halves ebb, flow, and melt around and into each other. One could say that it’s Krausbauer’s slicing bow and high-octane melodicism that steals the show on “A Prayer,” while Akiyama asserts more of a presence on “An Omen” with some room-shaking amp resonance, but to try to separate that which is so powerfully unified is pointless.

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