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Japanese Flower

by سم [ISM]

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Includes unlimited streaming of Japanese Flower via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • سم [ISM] bundle

    Japanese Flower LP and Metaphor CD

    Includes unlimited streaming of Japanese Flower via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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To follow up on their first album Nature in its inscrutability strikes back (Umlaut Records 2015), the unclassifiable European trio سم [ISM] is releasing two new recordings captured during a studio session in Tokyo in November 2018. The first part titled Metaphor was released on CD in the spring of 2019 while the second installment - the LP Japanese Flower - will be available in June 2021.

In this dense and adventurous diptych, the rhythm section of the group أحمد [Ahmed] exposes and propels music populated by sound fictions that pulverise the listening habits of the jazz trio format. Sometimes polyphonic, meditative, pulsed and repetitive, abstract or hypnotic, the music of سم [ISM] is crude, direct, labyrinthine, always rooted in an immediate sound mattere — as consisting of abrupt breaks and renewed continuities. Like the floral compositions of the Ikebana artist Junichi Kakizaki, this music can be listened to « like a flower » and step by step unveils a secret unity where the work of improvisation intensifies each of its moments.

[ISM] is a name written in ink. A dash through European creative music. A round trip, Berlin – Oxford, via Paris. اسم [ISM] is Pat, Joel and Antonin in a dotted silence without name. Acoustically, the trio creates abstract forms close of written contemporary music with sounds reminding us of ancient traditional jazz trios. The groove wich appears in this music is dense, extreme but always quiet. Music in a continuous flow of high voltage charges. In Arabic, اسم [ISM] is a way to connect between different cultural and imaginary worlds. اسم [ISM] is an Arabic word, which means The Name.

« Extended adventure into free bop and beyond »
The Wire - Adventures in Sound and Music

« It swings, in the old school sense of the word and rocks your soul with an every increasing pulse »
Mark Corroto - All About Jazz

« Or how we boldly extend the great tradition of the piano trio. Contemporary music recorded the old-fashioned way. The spirit of jazz, and a real pleasure »
Jean Buzelin - Culture Jazz


released June 30, 2021

Pat Thomas : piano
Joel Grip : double bass
Antonin Gerbal : drums
All music by Pat Thomas, Joel Grip and Antonin Gerbal.

Recording : Knuttel House, Tokyo – November 23rd 2018
Engineering, mixing and mastering : Taku Unami
Floral art and liner notes : Junichi Kakizaki
Photo : Joji Okamoto
Design : Takashi Nagata
Produced by Joel Grip and Antonin Gerbal.
Thanks to Taku Umami, Junichi Kakizaki, Joji Okamoto and John Chantler


all rights reserved



Umlaut Records Paris, France

Umlaut is a music collective born in 2004 in Stockholm, which then opened two branches in Berlin and Paris.

« Transformation of sound » is the motto around which they gathered to produce records, organize concerts, discover new artists and play music together.

The collective works to spread a music that is too rarely shared and discovered.
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