Director Tatsu Aoki conceived Reduction as a creative response to the popular taiko drumming stripped of its musical elements. Recent generations have embraced ensemble taiko (kumi-daiko) performance characterized by spectacle, with drums played hard and fast and using multiple rhythmic and pattern-oriented movements. In contrast, Aoki chooses to explore more nuanced taiko used in other Japanese art forms. The essential difference is about musicality. Reduction argues for upholding the beauty in taiko performance, for its connectivity to aesthetics and musicality.
Reduction 4 features the North American debut of Sennosuke Wakatsuki, a young Kabuki artist from Tokyo who is revolutionizing the form. Additional standout artists, from grand master Shunojo Fujima performing nihonbuyo (Kimono dance) to contemporary dancer Ayako Kato, appear in inventive combinations accompanied by jazz greats Hamid Drake, Michael Zerang, Nicole Mitchell, and Douglas R. Ewart, electronics composer Jonathan Chen, classical music masters Chizuru Kineya and Hyakkyo Fukuhara, and many others.