henry kaiser



Metalanguage 102

Henry Kaiser / electric guitar, Andrea Centazzo / percussion (side 2), Toshinori Kondo / trumpet and alto horn (side 1). Recorded: November 27 & December 11, 1978.

This is Henry Kaiser’s third album under his own name, and his playing continues to expand and unfold in ways suggested before – that is, texturally interwoven and highly elastic lines laced with a heavy out-of-phase vibrato and a generally dry percussiveness. His work has a good deal to do with Derek Bailey’s, but the feeling, rhythm, and sound are different (that heavy metal quality of his tone, for example), and he takes Bailey’s vocabulary and concept as already given. As evidenced by the side with Centazzo, his playing can be particularly dense, erupting into larger, more electronically dominant sound areas (different from Bailey’s work which has tended to be shaped by more strictly acoustical considerations). Kaiser’s playing and presence dominate both sides of this LP, simply because his conception is larger than either of his colleagues (and can be) because it is bounded by fewer technical restrictions – which is to say that he is capable of playing more across a wider range of options.

Kondo’s playing is pointilistically rhythmic and timbral in conception, more suggestively interactive than anything else. Centazzo plays more but mainly adds density rather than expanding the overall concept. Like Kondo, he often expands it more simply by leaving it alone, or by offering only a nuance or a flavor rather than attempting to confront it on its own terms. So it’s very much Henry’s record, though Kondo and Centazzo should certainly be given credit for what they do add. Centazzo’s playing tends to “ground” the music while Kondo’s contributions are lighter and more ethereal.

As one of the most wide-ranging and technically capable of any of the post-Bailey guitarists, all of Henry Kaiser’s work is important, and this record is no exception.

Henry Kuntz, 1979


selected Henry Kaiser recordings:


more on Henry Kaiser here…

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