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May 12th, 2008

Helena Espvall/Masaki Batoh Collaboration Update!

So you may remember a while back I posted about Helena Espvall’s (Espers) new collaboration with Ghost guitarist Masaki Batoh. And you also may remember that I promised to let you know when I heard more…

“The recording session was held in Tokyo over four days in December 2007. For instruments fans, this session might be a treasure. So many strings were used: 6- and 12-string guitar, banjo, cello, hurdy-gurdy, harp, contra bass, chappa Tibetan bells, Kin (Buddist metallic bowl), timpani, bass marimba, vibraphone, thunder sheet and on and on.

“Six of the traditional Swedish traditional tunes were reconstructed, along with Batoh’s arrangement of “Death Letter,” a classic Son House delta blues song. Additionally, a European medieval tune was addressed in their own arrangement and expressions. “Zeranium,” a dreamy folk tune that Batoh wrote for Damon & Naomi (they didn’t use it), was re-arranged for this session as well.

The improvisations were done on the last recording day, with no overdubs. “Completely free” was essential concept. For one of them, they were joined by Batoh’s fellow Ghosts Takuyuki Moriya (contra bass), Kazuo Ogino (piano,celtic harp) and the santur player Mayumi Nagayoshi. The same morning Helena had received notice that her grandmother suddenly had died, and that a dear friend had chosen to end his life. Two death letters in one day‚Ķthere is great emotion reflected in the improvisations. And great depth and beauty throughout the whole Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh album.”

Uhhh…did they just say they were covering SON HOUSE??? I think I may be hyperventilating. Don’t miss Helena and Masaki on tour!


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