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Shogun Kunitoki - Vinonaamakasio CD (album) cover


Shogun Kunitoki

Progressive Electronic

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4 stars How to describe the instrumental music of this obscure Finnish band with a Japanese name? To say it's psychedelic mixture of hectic, percussive space rock and electronic music feels hopelessly insufficient. Words like crazy or hypnotic may capture some of its essence. The sound is totally unique, created by synths, percussion, recorder, piano, electric harpsichord, sitar, theremin and other devices. One comparison could be the Düsseldorf branch of Krautrock, ie. bands such as Kraftwerk, NEU! or Cluster. But no, none of them is quite like this.

It's very open and undetermined what kind of emotions or associations the listener will get, since the music stays very abstract all the time, and the track titles give no guidance either. One can's say whether it's cold, gloomy and disturbing, or the opposite, funny, looney, tongue-in-cheek, even refreshing in its overdose of energy and innovation. The tempo is mostly quite fast and the percussion is merciless, but again to say this feels partly misguiding. I'm wondering why I get any pleasure of this seemingly idiotic bastard of music. Hell, it has something in common with Zeuhl (the branch of prog I've never felt much sympathy for) - or has it? I'm still too unexperienced with Zeuhl to be sure.

I guess it all comes down to the sound which is so cleverly constructed. Especially I like the semblance of church organ, reminiscent of some early Klaus Schulze stuff. One track happens to be called 'Holvikirkko' (Cathedral). The other titles, mostly made-up names of persons or places, don't make much sense which is of course the point. Vinonaamakasio??? Oblique Face Kalkulator? (Kasio is a non-existent word whereas Casio, as you know, is a calculator brand.) What about the cover design? An interesting mixture of digital abstraction and green flora. Schulze, Edgar Froese and also Brian Eno have had something similar. Perhaps they're more or less in the same page of the whole musical Atlas with Shogun Kunitoki, but at least Eno has never been this manic.

35 minutes go with a blink of an eye (unless it's an endless torture or yawn, depending on the listener). What was that? Did I really enjoy it? I press PLAY once more and jump again into the carousel.

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Posted Thursday, December 12, 2013 | Review Permalink

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