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Korekyojinn - Swan Dive CD (album) cover





4.51 | 3 ratings

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5 stars This album is a real treat. For the price of a single disc, we get a CD literally full of amazing improvised live material (tracks 1 and 2 recorded in February 2008, 3 and 4 in November 2008, and 5 and 6 in October 2006), the majority of which is recorded with one guest or another (guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa on 3 and 4 and keyboardist/vocalist Hoppy Kamiyama on 5 and 6). On top of that, we get a DVD of the group performing live (again, recorded during several sessions between 2004 and 2008) with only the core members of the group. Both discs are incredible material, and while the DVD is incredibly fun to watch as it lets me (sort of) experience the group live, I vastly prefer the CD.

The CD tracks, as I mentioned, are all improvisations. They're also the only tracks by the group (as far as I know) with vocals. Most of the time, the group holds together so well during the improvs that you'd insist they were composed pieces if you didn't know they were improvised. The additions of guests on most of the tracks doesn't detract from this in any way either. Hoppy Kamiyama's style of vocals and keyboard are pretty unique, and I've grown to really like what he does. Ever since I first listened to the CD, I've thought the track "Guru Zakun Kin Kan" is one of the best pieces of music of the last 50 years (at least!), and that's definitely helped out by his contributions. Really, it's a track which encompasses everything the group could do in just over 24 minutes. We've got everything from the most chaotic, cacophonous bits to moments of sublime beauty (especially past the 20 minute mark). They really can do it all, folks. This track really makes me wish Yoshida would start a group with that lineup. Of course, the tracks with Uchihashi are no less exciting, nor are the tracks with only the core trio. This one really just hit me most strongly.

The DVD is great as well; here we get to see the composed side of the band which is most commonly displayed. Sound and video quality are both fine by my standards, but I doubt most people would consider the video quality amazing. One thing I've noticed from watching this DVD and the other couple I have with Yoshida...for how insane his drumming is, he often looks completely calm, almost even bored behind the drums. I guess that may be why he plays regularly with more bands than I can count with two hands. They're all definitely enjoying the concert though, that much seems obvious to me. I love watching them play the material here. It definitely adds another dimension to listening to the live stuff, which is already fun enough. My only real complaint about the DVD material is the lack of any tracks with Hoppy K. or Uchihashi. I would have enjoyed watching that quite a lot, I'm sure. Still, I'm more than happy enough with what is presented.

This is a very worthwhile purchase, which I think is a great second purchase from the band (after Jackson). If you're a fan of Yoshida's music, you definitely need to check this one out. As I said in one of my other reviews of the band's albums, the group sounds like heavy prog gone crazy, haha. Swan Dive is one of my two favorite releases from the group so far, easily earning another five star rating. Hopefully the new one will be just as good.

SaltyJon | 5/5 |


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