KUNIKO PLAYS REICH: Electric Counterpoint Version For Percussions


When I am driving with my car audio, or when I am at home listening to music with my stereo system, I play various kinds of music. But I seldom curry favor with my daughter, who is six years old now, like I play music for kids.

[pile of CD cases]

バディ・リッチのドラムバトルとか本当に大好きで、パーカッション演奏を聴くのが大好きな娘は、最近だと、スティーブ・ライヒ (Steve Reich) の “Music For 18 Musicians” と “Electric Counterpoint (Version for Percussions)” がストライクゾーンだった模様。特に後者はアドリブで「さむ さむ さむ さむ さむい さむい さむい さむい ねむい ねむい ねむい ねむい」とか歌いながら楽しんでました。I li I li I li I lik I lik I like I like I like the way way way way way s s s sh sh sh she she lik lik lik likes likes likes!

Recently she (who loves percussive performances a lot, including drum battles by Buddy Rich!) found the greatness of “Music For 18 Musicians” and “Electric Counterpoint (Version for Percussions)” both by Steve Reich. Particularly she loves the latter composition, and she does ad-lib singing along with the tune, like “Co, co, co, co, cold, cold, cold, cold, cool, cool, cool, cool” – Yes, I li I li I li I lik I lik I like I like I like the way way way way way s s s sh sh sh she she lik lik lik likes likes likes!




When she was very young (zero to two years old), I sometimes played the soundtrack CDs of Anmanman (one of the most popular Anime characters among Japanese babies), compilation CDs of various Anime songs, the soundtrack CD of the educational TV program “Do-Re-Mi No TV” entitled “Uta Uua“. Recently she loves to listen to the soundtrack album of NHK Drama “Amachan”, a huge hit morning drama. Otherwise I play what I love to listen to.



Such music “for kids” – in other words, a bunch of music composed and performed by the musicians who did them like “babies and kids don’t need professionalism – they don’t care at all, so how about this easy kind?” – really boring to listen to, although some of what I mentioned above (“Amachan” and “Uta Uua” soundtracks) are a few exceptions. Sort of “ghost singers” sings along with low-budget step recordings – really boring both for kids and parents, no?



I will never want to let her listen to such kinds of music positively – I rather want to listen to my favourite music with her, enjoy together, let her feel anything among various kinds of music – that I believe will make some good when she grows up and she gets interested in listening to / playing music. Also, kids find such “music for babies and children” by themselves, either on TV or through their friends.


実際、少なくとも今のところは、本人もあらゆる音楽を心から楽しんで聞き感じてくれているようです。ソウル・トレインのDVDが大好きで、「That’s A Plenty」が大好きで、ドラムソロを聴くのが大好きで、ルー・リードのメタル・マシン・ミュージックが大好きで、チャイコフスキーのくるみ割り人形が大好きで、サティの Je te veux が大好きで、チャップリンのティティナが大好きで、ジョン・ゾーンの Shuffle Boil が大好きで、ペレス・プラードのマンボNo.8が大好きで、ヘンデルのラルゴが大好きで、あがた森魚の東京節が大好きで、ミラクルズの The Tears Of A Clown が大好きで、、、今のところは、私と音楽を聴く楽しさを共有してくれています。

As a matter of fact, until now, at least, she seems to enjoy various kinds of music from her heart. She loves to watch the Soul Train DVDs; she loves classic Jazz composition “That’s A Plenty” by various musicians; she loves to listen to drum solos; she loves Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music; she loves Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite; she loves Satie’s “je te veux”; she loves Charles Chaplin’s Titina; she loves John Zorn’s Shuffle Boil; she loves Pérez Prado’s Mambo No.8; she loves Handel’s Largo; she loves “Tokyo Bushi” by Morio Agata; she loves Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ “The Tears Of A Clown”; etc… she loves to share the joy of music with me at least until now.



閑話休題。最近見つけた、この 加藤訓子 さんによる新鮮で斬新なライヒ解釈を収録したアルバムは本当に素晴らしい内容です。ライヒ御大自らも認めたものらしいですね。余りに凄いので、ハイレゾ音源 買っちゃいました(笑)

Let’s return to the subject. I recently found this album by Kuniko Kato, featuring very fresh and innovative Reich interpretations and it’s really awesome – Kuniko even won praise from the composer himself. I couldn’t help buying the hi-resolution tracks from Linn Records Online.

Kuniko Plays Reich

Kuniko Plays Reich / Kuniko Kato (Linn CKD 385)

Amazon.com (CD, MP3) | Amazon.co.jp (CD)


Electric Counterpoint といえば、1989年にリリースされた大名盤「Electric Counterpoint / Different Trains」で パット・メセニー (Pat Metheny) が(ライヒの作品としても、メセニーの作品としても)余りにも完璧ですので、そのイメージにどこまで引きずられるかと危惧していたのですが、とんでもない、全くの杞憂でした。単にギターをパーカッションに置き換えただけでは全くない、新しい感触がそこにあります。どちらもじわじわと押し寄せるフラグメントとリズムの波に心が洗われかつ高揚させられるものですが、エレクトリックギターではなし得ないパーカッションならではの表現がこの曲の新解釈・新機軸にぴったりとマッチしています。

The original performance of “Electric Counterpoint” by Pat Metheny, released in 1989 on the definitive Reich album “Electric Counterpoint / Different Trains” is a perfect rendition of the composition – a true masterpiece both of Steve Reich and Pat Metheny. So I was a bit concerned about Kuniko’s version if it was a retrenched edition of the Metheny’s version. But it was NOT at all. Kuniko’s version has another feel, another rendition, another perfection – not just a replacement of guitar with percussions. It is the very one only her percussions can do – very beautiful.

Different Trains / Electric Counterpoint

Electric Counterpoint / Different Trains
Kronos Quartet, Pat Metheny, Steve Reich
(Nonesuch 79176-2)

Amazon.com (CD, MP3) | Amazon.co.jp (CD)



It can also be said, that Pat Metheny tried to dig stratified rendition with effectors (and overdubbing), while Noriko Kato tried to make most of spatial ring of sound from marimba, steel pans and vibraphone (as well as overdubbing).



I really hope this fabulous album will be one of my daughter’s favourites for any longer…

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