The Gravity Project The Gravity Project Apollo Sounds This strange album emanates from Melburnians Paul Grabowsky (piano) and Rob Burke (saxophones, alto clarinet). Recorded in Tokyo, the album combines Western jazz — particularly its free improvisation strand — with two traditional Japanese instruments, against a background of subtle electronic sounds and a very free jazz rhythm section. Overall the music is highly agreeable. Its most controversial aspect is the presence of two rappers on three tracks. I’m told by hip-hop enthusiasts that the treatment of rap here is perverse. It’s possible that this is an exercise in deconstruction by musicians who are intent on pushing jazz into unexplored territory and redefining conventional sounds. Rap is now heard everywhere as muzak; is it not an overblown musical genre, ripe for deconstruction? For much of the album, the koto and shakuhachi players are quiet, if not diffident, alongside master improvisers such as Grabowsky and Burke. However, Kuniko Obina (koto) and Masaki Nakamura (shakuhachi) come to the fore in the last two of six tracks. Vinegar, the sole composition by Burke — with all others written by Grabowsky — includes some inspired interaction between Burke’s tenor saxophone and Obina’s koto, before Sam Anning lays down a lovely bass figure that enables the ensemble to float and the listener to drift into musical beauty. In Grabowsky’s well-known composition Psalm, Nakamura’s strong, haunting shakuhachi solo enables the album to finish on a note of considerable triumph. This is the most innovative and daring album I have heard for some time.