Denki Udon: In ZdB
A leader-less trio with a jones for live improvisation, Denki Udon consists of Norberto Lobo (electric guitar, electric bass), Giovanni Di Domenico (Fender rhodes), and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto (drums). Their appetite for live playing is well-accounted for on In ZdB, which documents a set the trio played on November 21st, 2014 at the Galeria Zé dos Bois in Lisbon. Each of the three brings background in experimental jazz and free improv to their shared endeavour, with figures such as Arve Henriksen, Jim O'Rourke, Fred Lomberg-Holm, Otomo Yoshihide, and Keiji Haino among those with whom they've played.
Being wholly improvised, it's natural that a certain degree of looseness attends the material, and par for the course, explorative episodes stretch out as the participants feel their way along from moment to moment. Yet there is coherence also, so much so that one guesses some small amount of pre-planning or discussion had to have preceded the performance. Lasting thirty-six minutes, the set lends itself perfectly to a vinyl presentation, with two conjoined tracks presented on each side.
“Saike Zoku” opens with Yamamoto saturating the space with colourful percussive flourishes and Lobo and Di Domenico adding painterly textures of their own. As one would expect, that relatively subdued beginning gradually builds into a considerably more animated and aggressive attack, each player feeding off of the energy and ideas of the others. Side A closes with the three digging into a lumbering, blues-based monstrosity titled “Music For Wet Dreams” before inaugurating the flip with the molten free-form thunder of “Needle Dropping.” If there's a secret weapon here, it's Yamamoto, who stokes continual fire throughout the recording; rarely pausing for breath, the Yamaguchi-born drummer whips up cross-currents of cymbal patterns and percussive detail whilst also laying out a stable yet ever-mutating foundation for his partners to play against (see “The Final Static” as an especially good example).As the recording advances, an interesting concept comes into focus, with Lobo and Di Domenico eschewing conventional soloing for more group-focused interplay. Stated otherwise, the three treat Denki Udon as a singular, multi-limbed entity as opposed to an outfit featuring three individual players—or at least that's the impression encouraged by the recording. In that regard, it wouldn't be too great a stretch to draw a parallel between In ZdB and Live-Evil as far the group concept is concerned, and Denki Udon's playing even sometimes calls to mind the live improvs of King Crimson during its Starless and Bible Black period.