I don't actually have this album. Well, I have the sleeve. I don't remember the particulars, but I probably bought this up in Poughkeepsie while at Vassar, shortly after having first encountered Balinese music. Got it home, opened it up and found and entirely different record inside: Japanese Koto Classics, performed by Yuize Shinichi. How serendipitous, if momentarily annoying. Who knows how long it would have taken me to get to koto music otherwise?
Of course, I know next to nothing about the koto tradition, including where Shinichi is generally considered to stand. Sounds pretty fantastic to me as well as far purer than those koto players who dabble in improv who I've heard over the years. Beautiful music; it seems pretty hard to go wrong with these early Nonesuch releases. Incidentally, despite what's in the sleeve, I've always perversely filed it under "B" for Bali. This makes little sense and, following its listening today, will return to "S" where it belongs. Or "Y". *sigh* Never know the right thing to do with Japanese surnames. I'd never looked up Shinichi-san before--here he is (I guess he plays shamisen as well):
Any koto recommendations would be welcome. Why I haven't rectified the original problem and picked up that Balinese disc yet, I don't know. I do get a little confused with the repackaging, as attractive as it is--I can never quite remember which ones I have, which ones I don't.
Oh man, the third track on Side One here, "Midare", is killer stuff. I see a recording of this piece (I think--called Midare Rinzetsu) on an album by Kazue Sawai; might have to look into that. She's worked with Michel Doneda, Le Quan Ninh and others, hmmm.....