field report no.091616

SUBJECT: Ikue Mori

If you explore much in John Zorn's ever-growing musical kingdom, you are bound to come across Ikue Mori. Her imp improvisational electronics features on dozens more by other artists. Her utterly unique style of adds depth and mystery to any ensemble. She's an artist with a very identifiable palette but is still a responsive partner.

Of late, Mori's been honing a visual art accompaniment to her work. The first half of the night featured one of her recent works, Pomegranate Seed, a hallucinogenic take on Nathaniel Hawthorne's story from the Tanglewood Tales. The vibrant, multi-layered visuals were great steps beyond what I had seen from her just a couple of years ago: much more sophisticated and engaging. It's a pleasure to her her solo, too—pushing the dense abstraction of her style to the fore.

The second set was the debut of Mori's new quartet, Obelisk. Here she's drawing on a deep stable of players she regularly collaborates with. They deftly coaxed melodies out of Mori's abstractions, but never in an overly song-like way. Instead they approach it crab-wise, casting a semblance of form with intimations and shadows around the edges.

NOTES: Pomegranate Seed: Ikue Moir, electronics, projections; Obelisk Quartet: Ikue Mori, Sylvie Courvosier, Okkyung Lee, Jim Black