recorded, mixed and mastered by Volker Meitz
except Angry Bee is recorded by Martin Ruch at the Berlin Solo Impro Festival
produced by Taiko Saito
Taaiko Saito uses Korogi marimba exclusively
special thanks to Fumie Tsuji, Volker Meitz, Akitoshi Mizutani, Martin Ruch, Tobias, Yuna and Juntaro
© 2023 Trouble in the East Records 022
A musician also known as a magician
I love music. But sometimes, I have trouble listening to it openly. That is to say, I made music in the past and have some regrets. And the thought ‘I could have done more’ blocks my ears, even if good performances are happening right in front of my eyes. In one word, I may name it “jealousy,” and yes, I am twisted and it is very troublesome. But Taiko cured my feelings. Watching her performing cleared my sight towards music. I can obediently say that there was nothing more I could have done. As this fabulous musician performs so brilliantly, it is completely fine for me to be a spectator. I even feel relieved, or released from the twisted curse of music.
I first met Taiko at a park, quite a mundane place, with our children. At the time, I didn’t know what kind of music she played. Having a small conversation with her, she looked kind of mysterious, and my first impression of Taiko was “she looks interesting but slippery as an eel…” I had no idea what she was about.
Sometime later, I had an opportunity to see her perform, and got goosebumps. The energy projected from her small body was strong and poignant, and left me speechless. Her indescribable charisma was so strong during her performance that her high-level of virtuosity become secondary in nature. But it was somehow calm and organic like the Earth rather than vigorous like the glare of the summer sun. I was truly overwhelmed by the musician Taiko Saito. Contrarily to my original thought of not grasping who she was, she well and truly pulled at my heartstrings.
This great musician sometimes shows the face of artisan. The act of quickly changing mallets, which vary in materials and lengths reminds me of an artisan’s serious manner of changing tools calmly. It is simply a breath-taking sight. In a space filled with a good amount of tension, sounds that are carefully woven piece by piece vibrate and resonate sensitively, and are vibrant and stereographic. The particles of sounds are connected each other to create a chain while floating and swirling around Taiko. The swirl grows bigger and bigger, becoming a swell, and finally overflowing from the stage to hold us all slowly, quietly yet very strongly.
Consequently, this artisan turns into a magician before anyone realizes. While creating a hyperreal world, she handles the instrument as if manipulating magic, and eventually she integrates herself into her instrument, becoming one with it. Once gazing at the front with a dignified look, then with a delicate look, she slowly spins out the vibration which is very subtle and hardly audible. But in the next second, she dives into the waves of the groove and starts swimming around so freely and vigorously with sparkling eyes. This was the moment when one idea came to my mind, ‘Maybe, she is a magical illusionist rather than a performer?’
Well, I still cannot grasp Taiko. But since I cannot quite see who she is, I would like to know more about her. Also, I want her to show us the miracle of her instruments, the marimba and vibraphone, and take us to the unknown places for unknown experiences. That’s what she is and what her charm is all about, and ultimately that’s the point I can finally grasp about her.