Photo: Anna von Hausswolff

Experimental pianist Naoko Sakata announces new album with the torrential beauty “Improvisation 3”

Naoko Sakata is a Gothenburg-based Japanese pianist who plays and records entirely improvisationally. She describes her process, saying:

“When I sit in front of the piano, I, as a person, disappear. My body becomes a conduit for expressing the music that I can hear in my head. There are no obstacles to its realisation and I don’t follow rules on how to make it happen. It is at the same time something natural and highly spiritual, sacred and wild, something that lives in a moment in time and only in that, before disappearing forever.”

Sakata has just been signed by Anna von Hausswolff’s label Pomperipossa Records, who will release her new album Dancing Spirits on March 26. Along with that announcement comes our first taste of the record, “Improvisation 3”, with Sakata simply saying “When peace and chaos exists together, I feel like myself. I felt a strong connection with the music flowing in me.”

That clash of peace and chaos is the lifeblood of “Improvisation 3”, and it’s a thrilling listen that traverses rumbling troughs that suddenly emerge into fields of sparkling beauty. Sakata’s playing is so completely unpredictable, practically elemental in its wildness at points, but this primal playing ensures it remains utterly captivating throughout. There’s really no describing it, so you’d better just listen below.

Naoko Sakata’s new album Dancing Spirits arrives on March 26 through Pomperipossa (pre-order). You can find Sakata on Instagram and Facebook.