Kuniyuki Takahashi – Unexpected Midweek Journey through Time and Space

Last Mercredi, the 12th of April, I went to see Kuniyuki Takahashi live at New Morning as part of an evening presented by Make It Deep. The connection of Japanese DJs and producers to the French scene was every bit as groovy as to be expected from this collective. I wrote a poem about the improvised live show: I suggest you hit play, and read on:

    Unexpected Midweek Journey through Time and Space

This is your captain speaking. In adorably broken English. To a crowd of midweek ravers totally unaware of what’s about to happen to them.

A rolling groove he’s laid it down,
A bed of offbeat glocks and ticks
And shimmies of the shaker.
Ambient and roiling with our winding middles
Chords find their way through clapping rhythms.
We try to mimic but can’t keep up,
A swung tip of the cap to jazz and funk.
Keys quieten on down for the next rising star;
Looped flute eyes closed as the clouds break, a solo.
So packed in New Morning
Shoulder to shoulder.
Ya shoulda come earlier
They say at the door to the poor folk who thought they’d been here before.
Dancefloor stoked the grand piano is played
And our mid-week blues are swept away.
His hand are fast, the Bongos knocking.
Wind instrument spikes, neat embouchure
That starts demure and ends up rocking.
Mbira seasoning percussion now
And sweat is dripping from shining brows.
Between live song peaks our spirits soaring
A rich valley of synthetic tone
The earthlings are roaring.
But what’s he gone and done?
The mics turned around
He’s sampled us!
Whoops and whistles whirling round,
Headphone-less
He makes us the focus,
Reading the waves and surfing them
Like a cool-faced beanie clad bearded sprite
Cross legged on a longboard recondite.
We’re just an anemone on the reef below waving,
Crash with the breaks beats no need for saving
A force beyond picks up our fronds
And fans them forward to worship.
A couple more keys and I’ve certainly forgotten the reason
I was complaining in the street earlier
Feet hurting
from stomping
I’m moving
We’re jumping
But how soon serene and contemplative!
Unexpectedly educated
On the sort of quality one expects from
Make It Deep,
You did indeed.
Kuniyuki presses those hands blessed together in reverence
We do too
Arigatōgozaimashita
To thank us of all people, can’t imagine what for.
The lights are off,
There’s time for one more
Before we blow a kiss,
And get shown the door.

Everyone should go see him right now.
Please, for the love of all things improvised, book this man. See this man. Hear this man.

(Ed: thanks to Amy Young for the awesome poem! Hope to read and feature more from you <3)

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