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Masahiko Togashi - Rings

There are areas to be avoided in a record collection, as in other areas.

Disks to never discover if you want to keep some free time, or an healthy bank account...

Published on novembre 26, 2021
by Olivier Rousseaux

Mashiko togashi photo

Masahiko Togashi cover album "Guild for human music"
© Photo : Satoshi Saito

Encounter with Masahiko Togashi

A Masahiko Togashi record crossed my path for the first time in 2015, during a visit to the Plexus shop. They tell me softly that "Spiritual Nature", released on East Wind, is clearly in the line of the LP I usually like. I buy (as often), eyes closed.

Back home, i put the record on the turntable... boom.

There you have it, this kind of record that transports you, with its obvious beauty and minimalism.
Thanks Guillaume.

After some research on Masahiko Togashi, I learn that the percussionist lost his legs in 1969 and overcame the difficulties of playing the drums by building a new percussion kit, adapted to his handicap. Wow… I am absolutely transcended by this strength of character and this creativity.

Masahiko Togashi, post-credits scene from the movie "Magino village" (Shinsuke Ogawa).

The car accident that made him hemiplegic made him evolve. What anyone else would have experienced as an inescapable end of a musical career and a passionate labor, was for him the beginning of a new era, and a new sound as well.

Barely 18 months after his accident, Togashi was playing and recording.

Bio and discography

Japanese jazz drummer and percussionist. Born March 22, 1940 in Tokyo; died August 22, 2007.
Togashi was acclaimed as a jazz drummer from his teens, when he played in Sadao Watanabe's group. He was a pivotal figure alongside Masahiko Sato, Masayuki Takayanagi and Yosuke Yamashita in the development of free jazz in Japan in the late 1960's.

Source et discography : >

His album "Rings"

I'm far from being a specialist on the subject, but the finesse of his playing strikes you at first earing Minimalism, a clean and fundamental sound, very logically inspired by traditional Japanese music.

His album "Rings", released in 1976 on East Wind, is in my opinion his most beautiful record, perhaps the least accessible too. Simplicity AND complexity. "Rings" is first of all a monster of lightness, the noise often giving way to silences which punctuate by their eloquence the vibrating moments (while restraint).

Listen >

 Rings  cover album

Album cover from "Rings", 1976 - See credits >

I say "his most beautiful record"... it should be noted that so far, I have only scratched the surface of his gigantic discography. He also produced another solo album, "Passing In The Silence" released in 2000, but initially recorded in 1993, which presents an another ascpect of this musician : more free and deconstructed, slightly less meditative.

Did I mention that Togashi was playing alone on "Rings"? Yes, drums, percussions, vibraphone, marimba, celesta, glockenspiel. Him, the instruments, the silence, the sound, the Harmony.

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