Chie Mukai - Songs & Improvisation (2003)
Here is a very obscure CD-R release by Chie Mukai (向井千惠). It's a live recording from "2002.5.1" (thanks to the ubiquitous confusion regarding the notation of dates, I can not say with any certainty if this is January 5th or the 1st of May - what could be more logical and unambiguous than dd.mm.yyyy people, come on?), recorded at Pepperland in Okayama. She is credited with "胡弓 (er-hu), vocal, piano, percussion, etc.". 胡弓 is actually the Japanese kokyū, which is not quite the same as the Chinese èrhú (二胡), but apparently there is some confusion in the use of these terms. Enough already with the confusion! Anyway, it's an eastern Asian spike fiddle with 2 or (in Japan) 3 strings.
Chie Mukai is a unique improviser who is not averse to some minimalist droning or wordless vocalizing. She is perhaps best known as the leader of free improvisation ensemble Ché-SHIZU (シェシズ), formed as far back as 1981. They have a couple of albums on PSF, one of which ('Nazareth') was also released in 2003. Another notable group she performs with is Enkidu (with Éric Cordier and Seiichi Yamamoto). Check out their album 'Hasselt' (also 2003!), which, unlike the Ché-SHIZU album mentioned, was in fact recorded in the fair city after which it is named.
This disc (a blue TDK Toughness CD-R, 650MB) is a bit of a mystery, there's no info to be found anywhere. I think it's basically something she copied herself in very limited quantities and handed out to friends or sold at concerts. Here's your chance to hear it for yourself. Oh, by the way, the third track (not the second one as is mentioned on the back (see scans), as the entire thing is preceded by a 2 minute warm-up) is a (slightly misquoted) cover of 'A Maid That['s] Deep In Love', a traditional but no doubt based on the Pentangle version, from their 1970 album 'Cruel Sister'. About the last 2 tracks (transliterated, 'Okoru' and 'Tokimeki no Hata') I have no information. Do you?
Hear me now.