Axis/Another Revolvable Thing is the second installment of Blank Forms’ archival reissues of the music of Japan’s eternal revolutionary Masayuki Takayanagi, following April is the cruellest month, a 1975 studio record by his New Direction Unit. Comprised of recordings of a September 5, 1975 concert by the New Direction Unit at Yasuda Seimei Hall in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, the two volumes showcase Takayanagi in deep pursuit of what he began calling “non-section music” after leaping beyond the confines of his prior descriptor “real jazz.” The quartet of Takayanagi (guitar), Kenji Mori (reeds), Nobuyoshi Ino (bass, cello), and Hiroshi Yamazaki (percussion) deftly explores the twin poles of Takayanagi’s spacious “gradually projection” and explosively virulent “mass projection” concepts across six pieces, titled Fragments I – VI and split between the two LPs.
As part of his liner notes for Part 1 (newly translated for this edition), noted Japanese free jazz critic Teruto Soejima wrote:
New Direction Unit performances always emit the smell of blood. Fresh blood, never blood that is old or crusted. This is not the desiccated shell of music, it’s sound through which pumps the blood of living human beings. Blood that seethes, that flows and counterflows, that blazes, runs, rises and congeals, blood that vomits and spurts. Vivid, scarlet blood. The ultimate beauty that Takayanagi aims at, is it not the color of this blood? Blood calls out to blood. For these four musicians, playing together means feasting on each other’s blood. It is also a summon- ing to a secret blood oath, to the creation of solidarity with the audience. In the moment, truly, the situation and beauty are instanta- neously unified. To borrow the title of a movie by Ko?ji Wakamatsu: blood is redder than the sun.