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Natto Quartet
The Natto Quartet is a San Francisco Bay Area ensemble that explores the possibilities of timbre and group interaction with its unique instrumentation, juxtaposition of cultural traditions and collectively improvised approach. Shakuhachi player Philip Gelb, koto player Shoko Hikage, pianist/electronic musician Chris Brown, and electronics pioneer Tim Perkis find common ground in the extended and experimental technique associated with improvised music. Their beautiful, elastic music is like none other being performed today, spanning the boundaries of traditional Asian music, electronica, and free jazz. Trio Natto was formed in 2000 and have performed throughout the Bay Area and Japan. They explore the unique combination of two ancient Japanese instruments with a live electronic improviser and are often joined by Chris Brown on grand piano, who becomes a member of Natto Quartet with this recording. Shoko Hikage began learning koto aged three. She graduated from Takasaki College with a major in Koto music and went on to become a research student in Sawai Sokyoku where she received her master's certificate. Hikage currently teaches koto at the Japanese Cultural Community Center, Northern California. Philip Gelb focuses on playing shakuhachi in new music. He has performed throughout America, Europe and Japan as a soloist and in numerous ensembles. Gelb studied ethnomusicology at the Florida State University School of Music and he currently teaches and performs in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as curating the music series at Meridian Gallery, SF. Tim Perkis has worked in the medium of live and electronic computer sound for many years - performing, exhibiting and recording throughout North America and Europe. Perkis is a founder of the computer music band The Hub and often performs in the improvised music scene. His work explores the emergence of life-like properties in complex systems of interaction. Chris Brown, composer, pianist and electronic musician composes for acoustic instruments with interactive electronics, for computer networks and improvising ensembles. Recent compositions explore polyrhythms using piano, percussion, DJ and computer. He teaches electronic music at Mills College in Oakland, where he is Co-Director for Contemporary Music.
Thousand Oaks
Thousand Oaks (2005)
Recorded at Maybeck Recital Hall in Spring 2004 "...a rare level of nuance and balanced interaction that invites repeated immersion in a profound listening experience." - Downtown Music Gallery
Headlands (2003)
Recorded live at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California, 8/12/2002 "...each sound has the self-contained integrity of a stroke of masterful calligraphy... each musician seems to have a perfect bead on the other's next steps" - The Wire

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"A fusion of older traditional music and modern jazz, the Natto Quartet not only express a singular vision of this amalgam, they execute it to dizzying heights." — Michael G. Nastos, WEMU, 89.1 FM, Ypsilanti MI

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