“Aspirations of Madness”: this issue of Blank Forms takes its title from a series of interviews with Japanese free jazz pioneer Masayuki Takayangi that were published in Japanese in 1975–76 and are published here in English for the first time. The interviews provide a rare look at Takayanagi’s eccentric practice and personality, both long under-recognized by audiences outside (and often, inside) of Japan. The postwar Japanese history that Takayanagi describes also surfaces in this publication’s opening piece, a poetic tribute more
by the writer and artist Louise Landes Levi to one of Takayanagi’s contemporaries, the poet Kazuko Shiraishi. This issue includes a second Levi poem as well, “A Deep River,” written while at LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela’s Dream House in 2003, while Charles Curtis was rehearsing Young’s “Just Charles and Cello in the Romantic Chord.” Complementing this tradition of Japanese free improvisation and poetry is the republication of a 1977 interview with Joseph Jarman, the great composer, poet, and multi-instrumentalist. The volume also feature Charles Stein’s introduction to Being = Space x Action, dealing with the evolution of Catherine Christer Hennix’s complex practice; an excerpt from The Tree of Music, by the Russian musicologist Genrich “Henry” Orlov—a sweeping philosophical study of global music and cultures with universalist and spiritualist ambitions, introduced here by the composer and pianist Leo Svirsky; Maryanne Amacher’s “The Agreement,” from 2009, that takes the form of a letter between Amacher and the Open Ended Group.