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Xenakis: Pléïades, Rebonds - Kuniko

Xenakis: Pléïades, Rebonds - Kuniko

Linn Records  CKD 495

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Xenakis: Pléïades; Rebonds

Kuniko, percussion


Full of challenges, from the pioneering mathematical influences, to unusual notation and virtuosic performance requirements, many classify Xenakis' compositions as unplayable, but KUNIKO's unrivalled prowess sees her perfectly realise the composer's vision. Pléïades explores a rich variety of percussive sounds and textures; marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, xylo-marimba and drums create a sound world of rhythmic complexity and vibrant colours. Uniquely, Pléïades also requires a SIXXEN, an instrument designed by Xenakis and customised by KUNIKO, who hand-selected 120 metal bars to craft the perfect sound.

Since becoming a percussion soloist, Rebonds is a piece that KUNIKO has been playing and performing throughout her entire career. After hearing this performance of Xenakis' popular piece, renowned percussionist Sylvio Gualda congratulated KUNIKO on her ‘marvellous' interpretation.

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Recording
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All tracks recorded at 192kHz/24-bit at Lake Sagami Hall, Kanagawa, Japan.
Recorded and mixing by Kazuya Nagae and Yuji Sagae.
Mastering by Basiaan Kuijt.
Reviews (1)
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Review by Graham Williams - April 21, 2015

For her third release on the Linn label, entitled Xenakis IX, the virtuoso percussionist KUNIKO turns to two of the most inventive and challenging works of the Greek-French avant-garde composer Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001).

'Pléïades' was composed in 1978 and premiered by the six members of Les Percussions de Strabourg. It has four movements of roughly equal length and lasts, in KUNIKO's performance, 45 minutes. The titles of each of the movements – Mélanges (Mixtures), Métaux (Metals), Claviers (Keyboard) and Peaux (Skins) – indicate the type of instruments used and hence the differing tonal colours produced. The work also uses an instrument named the SIXXEN made up of metal bars with irregularly distributed pitches. KUNIKO herself selected 120 steel square tubes to produce the sonorities she wanted to achieve from six of these instruments in 'Métaux'.

Xenakis suggested two possible orders for performance with 'Mélanges' placed either first or last. KUNIKO has chosen the former, that allows the listener to experience the full kaleidoscopic percussion panoply before the instrumental groups separate for the subsequent movements.
Her thrilling performance of this remarkable piece is astonishingly confident and absolutely hypnotic.

'Rebonds', composed between 1987 and 1989, was written for the respected percussionist Sylvio Gualda whose complimentary note to KUNIKO is reproduced in the liner notes with this SACD. The work is in two parts simply labelled A and B that can be performed in any order. Part A uses only skinned instruments – bongos, tom-toms and bass drums – while Part B adds a set of 5 wood blocks and a tumba to the instrumental line-up. KUNIKO makes light of the mathematical and rhythmic complexities of Xenakis's compositional technique in her authoratative performance of this work.

The recordings (24-bit / 192kHz) were made in the fine acoustic of Lake Sagami Hall, Kanagawa, Japan at dates between December 2013 and October 2014 by engineers Kazuya Nagae and Yuji Sagae and the sound quality is superb whether one is playing the disc on a stereo or multi-channel set-up. The latter, however, makes maximum use of the surround speakers for the various instrumental groups thus adding to the excitement of the whole listening experience.

Excellent notes by KUNIKO complete this most recommendable issue.

Copyright © 2015 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Stereo):

Sonics (Multichannel):

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Comments (6)
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Comment by Paul Brouns - September 18, 2023 (1 of 6)

I wonder for what reason another brilliant SACD by Kuniko is not listed on this website, as it is also a hifi-release by Linn Records and sounds breathtakingly beautiful. I have just received this 2 SACD (yes, a double disc release) imported from Japan. This the the release as shown on the artist's website:

https://www.linnrecords.com/recording-js-bach-solo-works-marimba

By the way, I am adding this in a comment here, because I was unable to find another way to contact HRAudio.net.
Thanks, Paul Brouns, the Netherlands.

Comment by Graham Williams - September 20, 2023 (2 of 6)

Hi Paul

Thanks for you interesting comment. Linn no longer produce SACDs so I followed the link on your post but could only find the album as a download.
Could you tell us from which retailer in Japan you obtained your 2 disc SACD release?

Comment by Paul Brouns - September 20, 2023 (3 of 6)

Thanks for your feedback. Sure this is the shop listing of this 2 SACD:

https://cdsvinyljapan.com/products/4589538759698

Comment by Mark Werlin - September 23, 2023 (4 of 6)

It appears the two-SACD Bach set was released in SACD format in 2017 only in Japan. The UK release was on CD and download formats.

https://www.discogs.com/release/13227477-Bach-Kuniko-Solo-Works-For-Marimba

The latest-released Linn SACDs listed on this site date from 2016.

Comment by Paul Brouns - September 25, 2023 (5 of 6)

Thank you Mark and Graham for diving into the release history. The Japanese SACD edition is being offered through channels like discogs.com. It is an enchanting recording.

Comment by Paul Brouns - September 25, 2023 (6 of 6)

Oh and thanks to John as well for adding this release.