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Mika Pohjola/Yusuke Yamamoto: Sound of Village

By jamming together, keyboardist Mika Pohjola and percussionist/flutist Yusuke Yamamoto (both former Berklee students) were able to establish a style of open improvisation, which they displayed on a 1999 Scandinavian tour. They had access to a Finnish recording studio, and that session yielded most of the tracks for this CD.

Some of the sound combinations they come up with are fresh and pleasing, as on “Bulan Mei” where Pohjola plays harpsichord and Yamamoto creates shimmering percussion effects. The flute-keyboard combination on “A Chant for the Procurator” is also delightful, if too brief at 48 seconds. Some of the themes used here, such as “Season’s Greetings” and “Berceuse 1823” have a pleasing, folklike quality. And to drive Sound of Village’s title home, some street sounds occurring outside Pohjola’s New York apartment are included.

While some of this music is intriguing, not much is developed beyond the vignette stage and some is monotonous. I hope that fewer and longer tracks will be included on their next CD.

Originally Published