In A Grove
Ultra limited only 40 copies available worldwide
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, In a Grove LP – Read by Laurence R. Harvey, score by Chris Bozzone LP
“Random” color vinyl of 40x copies available
This is a very small pressing with most copies already sold through our subscription service.
* Limited pressing on 150 gram vinyl
* Printed on a deluxe heavy weight gatefold tip-on jacket
* Includes insert with liner notes by Johnny Mains
* Newly commissioned art by Zakuro Aoyama
The short story, “In a Grove,” by Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, is most well-known for being the foundation for Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film, Rashōmon. Read here by Laurence R. Harvey and scored by Chris Bozzone, the story takes on a unique life of its own, as the plot twists and turns in the different observations of those who are both part of the events which transpired, as well as those who came upon the aftermath and were affected by it.
Both Harvey’s reading and Bozzone’s score change with each teller of the tale. Be it the clipped tones of a policeman, the mournful woe of an old woman, or the distracted recollections of a woodcutter and Buddhist priest, Harvey’s voice work is magnificent, embodying the confusion inherent in the reactions of each, while Bozzone’s music frequently reaches a fever pitch, with arpeggiated tones frequently utilized to underscore the fact that the ever-increasing distress of these witnesses, especially that of the old woman. The mother of the Masago, wife of the dead Takehiro, begins distraught, and ends with wordless, wailing cries of grief.
It is, however, the recitation of the recollection of the “famous bandit,” Tajōmaru, which shines brightest. Harvey’s at-times growling voice is backed with calm music during the first part of the bandit’s story, as if to contrast the brigand’s braggadocio with a peaceful spirit, then switching to intense pacing as the bandit becomes more thoughtful and contemplative at the end. Hearing this infamous outlaw go from bristling self-confidence to resigned over the course of his interpretation fills the listener with an equal amount of confusion, leading them to wonder just what went on here.
Flipping the record over brings the saddest tales of all, courtesy of Masago’s confession in a Buddhist temple and ending with the story from the dead Takehiro himself, courtesy of a medium. Both Harvey’s reading and Bozzone’s score move slowly and in an introspective manner, allowing the listener to truly inhabit the conflicting accounts of the wife and her dead husband. While previous accounts had occasionally contradicted one another, hearing these final accounts makes for a disconcerting experience, as they differ so utterly on major points. Bozzone’s music emphasizes this, ending with a querulous upswing as Masago weeps, and concluding both Takehiro’s tale and the album itself with a fading pair of bass notes which trail off into a swirl of wind.