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Great music demands hard work. Or it just needs one incredibly gifted artist sitting down at the piano for two days, just playing until the real world is left behind, until she doesn't feel or think about anything; about people's judgements; about herself; about the world.

That's how Naoko Sakata herself describes her non-process - and there's little anyone from our regular outside world could possibly add.

NAOKO SAKATA - Infinity (green/white marble vinyl LP) (2023)

But while the Japanese pianist technically does the same thing as on her previous album "Dancing Spirits", which had also been released on Anna von Hausswolff's Pomperipossa label and omitted song titles, just presenting her improvisations with a number according to the order of their creation, the outcome isn't the same in all aspects.

However the difference cannot be pinpointed by stylistic choices, because it still doesn't seem as if Naoko even makes those, but just effortlessly let's her inspiration flow without care whether it stems from Classical upbringing, highly experimental Jazz or other realms outside those two worlds. Her stunning virtuosity, seemingly limitless imagination and the ability to send her emotions directly through her fingertips allows her to go anywhere at any time.

In case of "Infinity" that mostly means upwards. There's a heavenly, uplifting air about this album.
That doesn't necessarily mean the record is less dramatic than the previous one. But it definitely tells a lighter story with a more hopeful conclusion.

And if you listen closely you'll sometimes find her getting carried away by the magic she's weaving and you can faintly hear her voice beautifully - and just as artistically sound - singing from her heart. These are marvelous moments of pure authentic expression - which is also an appropriate description of this whole inspirational, breathtaking deep listening experience.

Does the physical presentation of this metaphysical dream need any words? Not if you have eyes, right? And while - maybe - some listeners would prefer a more abstract cover over the gorgeous, almost Pop star-like portrait of Naoko, there should be absolutely no discussion about the fact that seldom the vinyl colour of a record has been such a fitting match for the music it carries.

And here I must stop writing, because a gentle wind is lifting me up and I'm floating away, further and further away from the keyb...

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