Japanese keyboardist Hiromi Uehara’s 2003 CD, Another Mind, was the kind of stunning, unpredictable debut that left no room for anything but the sophomore slump of 2004’s comparatively predictable Brain. Last year’s Spiral inched closer to her stratospheric first impression, but Hiromi officially gets her groove back with Time Control, thanks in part to guest guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski of the Screaming Headless Torsos.
The guitarist matches Hiromi’s classically influenced runs note-for-note on the opening “Time Difference,” setting a blistering early pace. Bassist Tony Grey and drummer Martin Valihora, onboard since Brain, gel in support of their maniacal bandmates. The pair makes 4/4 time sound like anything but on “Time Travel,” and guides Hiromi and Fiuczynski through the rhythmic maze of the stop-and-start “Time and Space.”
“Time Control, or Controlled by Time” opens with the kind of dizzying piano runs that permeated Another Mind, and “Time Flies” features her creative synthesizer work. Even the dreaded untitled closing hidden track can’t derail Time Control, thanks to the call and response between Fiuczynski and Hiromi. The guitarist gives her trio exactly what it needed to succeed again at this high level.