London based composer Dai Fujikura releases a recording of his works made in collaboration with ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) on Kairos, including several works for guitar. Funded by the Augustine Foundation, "ICE" includes world premiere recordings of the title track for large ensemble, Sparking Orbit for electric guitar and electronics, and Sparks.
NY Times ArtsBeat
"One of two impressive new albums devoted to music by Dai Fujikura (the other, “Ampere,” is available as a download from his own Minabel imprint), this disc emphasizes the guitar in its acoustic and electric guises. Daniel Lippel, an exciting soloist and a key member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, plays above, among and alongside his colleagues, fluttering and roaring in works that allude to Mr. Fujikura’s Japanese heritage while also asserting his cosmopolitan style; especially appealing is “ice,” a dazzling concerto for ensemble with a haunting coda for bass flute." - Steve Smith
“For many composers who are not guitarists, writing for the instrument can be a nightmare — it teases with its broad expressive possibilities but can also be fickle. Dai Fujikura, however, embraces the guitar’s idiosyncratic nature.“*
The notes written by guitarist Daniel Lippel, one of the leading music interpreters playing in this excellent cd, show a very common theme known to those who love contemporary guitar music: if a composer, who want to write some music for guitar, should be an expert guitaristt. This is a well-known question since Berlioz’s time and he himself has been sanctioned with his statement that composing for classical guitar was hard to do because you first had to be a guitarist, a phrase that was often used as a justification for the limited repertoire of classical guitar compared to other instruments like piano and violin.
A phrase that, however, aged in time, increasingly “crashed” by the growing interest that the guitar (either classical, acoustic, electric, midi) attracts in contemporary music and the new compositional approaches adopted. Why do I say this? Because I think this cd is a perfect example about this. The Japanese composer Dai Fujikura has done an amazing job where the guitar plays a dominant role. Guitar is the real backbone of this record, another great job by the Kairos independent record company, where just the two only solo guitar passages, Sparks and Sparking Orbit (masterfully performed by Daniel Lippel) are enough to attract the attention of all the contemporary guitarists, in particular Sparking Orbit for electric and electronic guitar. A really great record that, made in 2013, still needs to be listen to, again and again.
“For Dai, every compositional challenge is a wonderful opportunity for a fresh exploration of the basic materials of sound.“ -- Andrea Aguzzi