The prerequisite for an album of solo shakuhachi is, of course, silence to begin with. Ueli Derendinger – who has studied with renowned Japanese masters of the instrument – knows very well how essential that condition is. In Tsuru No Sugomori he donates seven traditional compositions plus three individual conceptions; unless you’re a bona fide authority in the genre, the difference could not be told. The music literally catches the particles of sound that float in the calmness; then, it proceeds in spontaneous generations of reflective melodies whose microtonal character is complementary to our perception of sober gravity and serene concentration. This is one of those instances in which a player manages to deliver the listener’s mind from the obligations of analysis, filling the room with implicit meaningfulness while carving a short interval of inner peace from the surrounding chaos. For that, I can invite the readers of this review to relinquish any precaution and become practically defenceless: Derendinger is the kind of musician who can keep an audience reassured, possibly generating warm illusions before a return to normality, definitely enhancing what’s left of the “smile inside”.

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