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Koenji Hyakkei


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Koenji Hyakkei Dhorimviskha album cover
3.98 | 82 ratings | 5 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Vleztemtraiv (10:18)
2. Levhorm (9:12)
3. Zjindhaiq (7:32)
4. Phlessttighas (6:22)
5. Djebelaki Zomn (9:49)
6. Palbeth Tissilaq (6:09)
7. Dhorimviskha (11:47)

Total Time 61:09

Line-up / Musicians

- "Ah" (Yamamoto Kyoko) / vocals
- Koganemaru Kei / guitar, vocals
- Yabuki Taku / keyboards
- Komori Keiko / sax, clarinet
- Sakamoto Kengo / bass, vocals
- Yoshida Tatsuya / drums, vocals

Releases information

CD Skin Graft - 128 (2018, US)

Digital album

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KOENJI HYAKKEI Dhorimviskha ratings distribution

(82 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

KOENJI HYAKKEI Dhorimviskha reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Ever since Christian Vander introduced the world to a new bizarre form of jazzy rock that contained seeds of alien contacts in his band Magma, many of the most extreme and adventurous musicians of the entire world have followed in his footsteps and added their own stamp on the crazy musical world that has become known as zeuhl. While many of these bands have come from Vander's native France, this bizarre field in fusion paradise has also attracted many others from around the world but perhaps no other nation has been so interested in adding their signature mind bending freakery to the style more than Japan and perhaps the single individual who has contributed the most to zeuhl's evolution in the 21st century is the indefatigable Tatsuya Yoshida (吉田達也) who has kept several plates spinning with his admirable Ruins, Ruinzhatova and Akaten (amongst many many other endeavors). However without a doubt the most ambitious of his projects has to be the hyperactively absurd musical smorgasbord of KOENJI HYAKKEI (高円寺百景).

While KOENJI HYAKKEI (高円寺百景) released their debut album "Hundred Sights Of Koenji" (the literal meaning of the band name) all the way back in 1994, this band hasn't exactly been the most prolific of Yoshida's projects since only four albums were released between the debut and 2005. While seemingly disbanded, like a good Godzilla movie, this monstrous musical beast has returned a full 13 years later with another brutally delicious extreme zeuhl piece of work in the form of DHORIMVISHKA which finds Tatsuya returning on drums and vocals along with bassist Sakamoto Kengo and woodwind maestro Komori Keiko. Joining the cast is keyboardist Yabuki Taku, guitarist and vocalist Koganemaru Kei and vocalist "Ah" Yamamoto Kyoto. Anyone familiar with KOENJI HYAKKEI (高円寺百景) will surely be aware of their unhinged adventurous nature and with this new cleverly crafted edition to their ongoing legacy, the band concoct one of the most adventurous and labyrinthine albums of their entire existence with the expected bubbling zeuhl rhythms bursting with obsessively frenetic time signature workouts, virtuosic instrumental attacks and some of the most over-the-top operatic vocals you could ever hope for.

If bands like Magma were like introductions to an alien civilization with gentle melodic developments that slowly ratcheted up to crescendoes, then KOENJI HYAKKEI (高円寺百景) is more like an extraterrestrial attack where every cadence and every measure of sonic possibility is a crescendo as if everything were turned up way to 11 and the extrem-o-meter was set for "mind melt." As with previous albums, DHORIMVISHKA is simply uncompromising in its relentless angular bouncing from one adrenaline fueled track to another. While the term brutal prog is a rather recent appellation that simply describes of brand of progressive rock that nurtures all the progressive accoutrements lavishly and takes them all to their logical extremities, this indeed is THE signature attribute for one of Japan's most unusually energetic musical troops as they accrue a unique zeuhl inspired flow embellished by percussive pummelation usually reserved for extreme metal and vocal gymnastics that sounds like someone spiked the divas drinks with high quality and long lasting methamphetamines that allow them to do unthinkable performances at breakneck speed.

DHORIMVISHKA is divided into seven lengthy tracks ranging from the six to twelve minute mark with each finding its own unique expressiveness but share the hyperactive overdrive antics. The star of the show is clearly vocalist Yamamoto Kyoto as she whizzes up and down the operatic scales flawlessly as the pummeling percussive drive plods along in conjunct with the excessive distortion of guitar riffs and solos, brash bass bravado and the unique mix of saxophone and clarinet attacks. The music is as wild and utterly unhinged as music can be and is as weird as the freaky track titles such as "Palbeth Tissilaq" and "Zjindhaiq" indicate. It goes without saying that this is extremely highly complex music but it is in reality exaggerated out of fairly easy to digest and humble beginnings. The melodies are well established, the rhythms are consistent and the deviations happen at a deliberate calculated pace so that the overall sense of order doesn't completely devolve into utter chaos.

For those who love the zeuhl rock opera sound that mixes and melds the expected marital and repetitive rhythmic percussive drive with larger than life chanted vocals in wordless or at least alien language form in a trance-like minimalism only laced with the excessive bombast of guitar runs, overweening saxophone squawks, glass shattering vocal antics and aggressive time signature and tempo changes, then you've come to the right slice of an alternative reality with KOENJI HYAKKEI (高円寺百景) who continues their unique trend of splicing and dicing zeuhl realities with avant-prog angular abstraction to create an edifice of powerful extreme prog that recognizes no boundaries. And whose only mission is to pummel the senses into utter submission like a blitzkrieg of sonic freneticism that attacks like a swarm of angry hornets. Despite this over the top bout with complexity, it's absolutely amazing how KOENJI HYAKKEI (高円寺百景) adds a sense of firm control over the monster of their making like a lion tamer in a circus with only a small whip and a whole heap of confidence to keep it all from going terribly awry. KOENJI HYAKKEI (高円寺百景) are back with a vengeance and Tokyo will never be the same!

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
3 stars The album "Dhorimviskha" created by a brilliant Japanese Zeuhl project KOENJI HYAKKEI has been released into the progressive rock scene in the summer 2018. Every track has an eccentric title (don't know what manner they give such a funky title to a track in), weird melody lines, complicated rhythmic bases, or incredibly technical instrument activities. Surely you can feel it should be an enjoyable creation as well. Or let me say, you can run away from the real serious world through the material in this opus definitely.

They use multi-rhythmic phrases in a repetitive manner, based upon critical drumming, seasoned fantastically with Ah's high-tone voices, Keiko's funkadelic wind instrument plays, Kengo's deep, deeper bass tones, Kei's speedy guitar storm, and Taku's sincere jazzy keyboard shower. Their serious, positive, delightful play is crazy great indeed, even in a incredibly sound bizarre, and the frontman Tatsuya YOSHIDA should be crazy nasty at the drumming or percussion without doubt ... yes without any doubt. Wondering how they launch a novelty different from previous material, and for me sounds more of technique or strength, and less of creativity nor potentiality.

Of course, their performance upon stage drives you mad. I'm looking forward to their gig along with this magnificent album ... yikes.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars How could one not be impressed with a Koenji Hyakkei album? The musicianship is so virtuosic, so clean and crisp, the compositions so complex and unpredictable. The first listen is always jarring and sometimes abrasive, but it is with repeated listens (and familiarity) that one begins to enjoy (and dance). Still, there is a lot of stylistic variety on display here--many Western and non-Zeuhl influences tapped into--it's not just one straightforward Zeuhl-fest.

1. "Vleztemtraiv" (10:18) though still aggressive and technically amazing, this song gives one the feel that the band is trying to move back closer to the Magma model of Zeuhl (except for the seventh minute, that is). I love Yoshida's use of the snare (a second snare?) with its snare wire disengaged. It's like he's playing the part of filling holes in the music. Incredibly tight vocal scatting to follow/mirror the blistering sax play. Amazing (and different) Hammond organ play in the final two minutes. Impressive song! True Zeuhl. A top three song for me. (19/20)

2. "Levhorm" (9:12) going deep into the South for some Muscle Shoals Bayou Blues. Now this is different. Singer (Koganemaru Kei?) even sounds like she's trained and singing in African-American English. And then she scats at Mahavishnu speed in tandem with the clarinet! Impressive though not my favorite. (18/20)

3. "Zjindhaiq" (7:32) opens in militaristic march form, slowly speeding up till the end of the first minute when it restarts, settling into a fairly sedate (for Koenji Hyakkei) and straightforward pattern and cadence. Then the third minute throws us a polyrhythmic curve before settling back into the more linear groove. Interesting space synth and male soprano vocal thrown into the fourth minute--it's almost pretty! Sax and tenor male take over at the end of the fourth with piano and drums providing a steady accompaniment. The fifth minute remains harmonically pleasing despite some complex craziness added by the guitar and Terry Jones female voices. A little more Ork-like aggressive at the end of the sixth minute before returning to a more straightforward female opera singer-led finale- -a finale of disintegration. I actually really like this one--for both its humor, beauty, and "contained anarchy"! My second top three song. (What a show!) (14/15)

4. "Phlessttighas" (6:22) more syncopated, stoccato in form, there is a very familiar American jazz feel to this one, despite it's lurching jerkinesss. Like 1970s Chick Corea. There are even some repetitive motifs that could turn into "sing-a-long" ear worms! Doesn't quite climb to the heights or craziness of the previous songs, but still great. (8.75/10)

5. "Djebelaki Zomn" (9:49) full band weave with choral vocals and lead female vocals more buried in the mix than on previous songs, panning guitars and pounding piano chords with more straightforward rock-style drumming and lead clarinet and synths tell me this one is going to impress. A little harder to engage with--there is so much going on!--I am trying to pay attention to so many individual and machine gun delivered elements! In the fifth minute we shift gears into Autobahn speeds while Yoshido's hollow snare bangs away beneath searing rock electric guitar solo. After a little bridge, we are delivered into a classic jazz piano solo--complete with jazz bass walks and stylish jazz drum play! Then, in the seventh minute, we turn a corner onto a side street in order to regale at the large window dressings of the shops there. Everything seems to slow down into slow motion here though soprano sax and female vocalese continue scat-soloing above. Electric guitar and sax join up to blister away a solo section as the car turns back onto the highway to play chicken with the cars driving the wrong way (or are we?) until the lights go out. (We must be dead.) Cool song. (18.5/20)

6. "Palbeth Tissilaq" (6:09) with harpsichord-sounding guitar built into a slow, French-sounding weave, we are treated to Ah's controlled and beautiful operatic singing. Piano jazz solo follows as rolling bass, percussion hits, and strummed acoustic "harpsichord" guitar accompany. This is pretty jazz lulling us into hypnotic ease, until we are suddenly jarred to awakeness in the fourth minute by a full-on rock assault--Hammond organ in the lead. I loved the "soft" lulling parts but feel that the rock assault in the final two minutes does nothing special--sounds too much like KH just trying to be abrasive (for no reason). (8.75/10)

7. "Dhorimviskha" (11:47) For the first time I feel that female vocalese and sax are not on the same page. Piano- guitar chord play at foundation are a bit rudimentary for KH standards--as is the crazy-but nothing-special guitar solo in the third minute. The new motif established at the end of the third minute works well--has a very Russian- Magma feel to it--even if it is more simplistic rock than some of the earlier songs. These radio-friendly themes continue to the mark to the six minute mark. Then drummer and pianist take a turn into time signature oddity before letting the music strip down and "fall apart" (unravel) into kind of free jazz. Yoshida really gets to show off in this section. Don Pullen-like piano play in the eighth and ninth minutes is reacting to the odd time sigs and syncopation hits as the singers vocalize their parts with extreme melodrama as if acting in some ancient Greek tragedy. Music gradually and insidiously slows down as if the thespians are enacting a nightfall scene--but then they rally for one last burst for the final 15 seconds. I love it! My final top three song. (22.25/25)

Total Time 61:09

It becomes obvious to me that I favor the longer, more complex and diverse songs of this album. They also seem much more theatric, which, apparently, I like. There's a Monty Python-like humor and intelligence in this music that I really connect with and admire.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of jazz-rock-infused high energy Zeuhl.

Latest members reviews

5 stars With Fusion-style keyboards during the opener sounding mighty triumphant (like something out of the debut UTOPIA album), we also have the now-classic stylings of Tatsuya YOSHIDA of RUINS, with excellent rhythm, exciting changes and, of course, the tribal near-Kobaļan group vocal chants. W ... (read more)

Report this review (#2595668) | Posted by DangHeck | Monday, September 20, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Dhorimvishka is the fifth studio album of Japanese Zeuhl/Avant band Koenjihyakkei. I usually trie to curb my enthusiasm when it comes to rating and reviewing new releases to allow for a cooling off period, but the new album of Koenjihyakkei deserves attention (well, all Koenjihyakkei albums do.). ... (read more)

Report this review (#2054594) | Posted by Norbert | Saturday, November 10, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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