Fascinating and incendiary string-meshing duel between two contemporary masters of musical metaphysics. Michihiro Sato is a master of the tsugaru-jamisen, a traditional plucked and strummed stringed instrument. But forget anything you may have heard about the delicate restraint of Japanese traditional music. Sato plays in the rough, ultra-speedy, explosively percussive style associated with the bleak, rural and snowbound far north of Japan. Originally associated with blind minstrels, the instrument underwent a huge revival in the sixties and seventies, becoming a counter-cultural symbol of brutal hardship, rural authenticity, and indigenous creativity. In the hands of a virtuoso like Sato (a two-time winner of the national championship), the shamisen is an instrument that can generate emotional involvement and pulses of sheer, untrammelled excitement. Sato is also unique in his field for his willingness to experiment and play with other improvisers -- previous collaborators have included John Zorn, Fred Frith, Bill Frisell, Butch Morris, Christian Marclay, Sean Meehan and Kan Mikami. Satos first studio meeting with Keiji Haino sees a rare melding of open minds and taut strings. Common languages are invented, experimented with and discarded at will. Haino revisits the evocative nylon-strung guitar style he first explored on Hikair yami uchitokeaish kono hibiki (PSFD-8017), laying down fields and forests of string texture, while Sato burns blazing trails of narrow-beam intensity straight through the middle of your skull. -- Alan Cummings.