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OOIOO - Taiga CD (album) cover

TAIGA

OOIOO

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.51 | 51 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
5 stars Amazing, startling percussion-and-voice-oriented 'tribal' music from this all-female band from Japan. Led by composer, drummer and lead vocalist Yoshimi P-We, this music will surely bring a smile to your face in the same way that hearing Magma for the first time will because it is so different from anything you've ever heard before and yet you can immediately appreciate the genius and virtuosity of the music and its musicians, respectively. The terms "tribal" and "cheerleader" used by other reviewers of OOIOO's music are quite appropriate and yet the music is anything but simple.

1. "UMA" (3:38) opens with drums (multiple?) and the call and response vocals of Yoshimi P-We being mirrored and answered by her band mates. Very little other instrumentation is added to this one other than more percussives, whistles, and a few industrial and spacey synth sounds. Infectious--like the work of a cheerleader squad on its audience. (9/10)

2. "KMS" (9:00) opens with some kind of electrified Japanese string instrument going through some scales in chord formations. A set of hand drums and multiple electric guitars (?) join in. The multiple electronic string instruments repeat their scales over and over, each presenting a slightly different variation in order to create a harmonic chordal effect. At 2:30 it all stops and a bass line enters, jazz snare drum and brass and electric stringed instrument take up the Coltrane-like multi-instrument chordal creation process. At 4:10 the instruments begin to diverge and travel their own individual, almost independent paths. Female lead vocalist soon begins keening over what sounds like a kind of Creole Tex-Mex Calypso. So unique and unusual! The next section, within which the vocalist whisper raps, sounds like South African music. Then it gets weird with syncopated drum "solo" with all kinds of computer electronic zips, pops and clicks. Electric 'guitar' takes over the lead and seems to beat the percussionists into submissive organization until the end fade. (8/10)

3. "UJA" (7:50) opens with some very West African-sounding tribal drum rhythms over which odd computer synth 'noises' snort and squeak while oddly distorted guitars interject their own scratchy sounds. At 1:33 Yoshimi P-We's vocals enter, alternating with King Crimson-like guitar leads, all playing over a hypnotically paced group drum and percussion weave. P-We seems to be calling the instrumentalists to action before an interesting primal "Ah-ah-oh-ho-oh" multivoiced vocal weave works into the music. At 4:10 a rather radical shift occurs into the music--a kind of P-Funk/PRINCE-like sound and rhythm structure--marching along at quite the celebratory parade-like pace. Synth sounds are shot in and out of the soundscape like lasers in a fight between Star Wars' Rebel Forces and the Imperial Army. The final outro with calypso steel drums and Casiotone-like synth is . . . fitting. (8/10)

4. "KRS" (3:44) is extraordinary for its use of drum rolls on a snare drum as a wave sound, pulsing, percussive synths and guitars and steel drums as and then the gorgeous multi-voice folk-like singing over the top. Like nothing else I've ever heard! (10/10)

5. "ATS" (8:07) opens with a gently paced percussion and bass weave within which more odd synth and vocalizations are interspersed. It sounds a bit like a TOM TOM CLUB song. The polyphonic weave continues unchecked for three minutes before things seem to break down--as if each instrumentalist has walked out of the room--when, in fact, they've merely each walked over to new instruments--which they soon begin to play. Hand drums. Vocals. Casiotone synth. At 5:05 a kind of barbershop quartet tuning chord signals the wholesale switch into a kind of Santana-like Latin rhythm over which epithets and Fripp-like solo sounds continue to flow from multiple voices and multiple synths and guitars. Great song! (9/10)

6. "SAI" (15:02) the longest song on the album opens with South African-like guitar riff that gets repeated over the next four minutes as the song's foundation. Distorted guitars, bass, voices, percussion, synths and more guitar lines weave in and out of the mix--though the opening minutes of this one are very vocal dominated. In the fifth minute it seems as if the vocals take over the song's foundation. Then, in the sixth minute, a slower, steadier percussive weave (tuned percussives) teams with electric guitar to give the song a solid center. Then 'monkey' voices enter and the tempo and melody change, though the instruments remain basically the same. In the eighth minute the guitar plays in thrashing chords with voices accompanying each thrash. The next few minutes continue to explore the uses and noises possible from the electric guitar over some very TOM TOM CLUB-feeling rhythm section work--and they're in a groove! Until 13:45 when we return to the opening guitar sounds and riffs with comic-like bass and drum play to end. A good song that almost plays out as if it were a song devised to experiment with guitar sound. (9/10)

7. "UMO" (3:31) opens with a scream from the girls before a soulful multi-drum base rhythm is laid down. Yoshimi P-We and her companions move into call and response mode again, like a cheerleader and her squad. Very catchy and amusing. Yoshimi P-We and her companions are in highly animated form. An incredible song that will keep you coming back for more! (10/10)

8. "IOA" (6:51) this one starts out chaotically before a chorus starts singing in what sounds (to my ears) like a Polynesian or Native American song. The strings, horn, percussion and drum structures accompanying this are quite unusually syncopated--almost alternating with the vocal sections but also partially or occasionally woven in with them. At the two-minute mark the tempo and weave shift--everything kind of comes together into a more tightly gathered group weave. Very hypnotic. A break from the vocals opens space for a lone synth to solo while the very tightly woven African rhythm continues below. Voices and drum-machine-sequenced handclaps join in with the African-like multiple lead guitar melody lines. Singular electric guitar gets a solo in the final minute. It does feel odd to hear anything in this album be left alone to stand out--which does not happen for very long as multiple synths join in till the song's end. Great song. (9/10)

Not for the faint of heart and yet not to be feared--this is odd but wonderful music! Like musical composition taken on by dancers or cheerleaders and/or nonmusicians. Truly adventurous. Reminds me of the 1980 TALKING HEADS when Brian Eno had the band members all try each other's instruments as an exercise in perspective and creativity.

A masterpiece of truly progressive rock music.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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