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Bondage Fruit


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Bondage Fruit Bondage Fruit II album cover
4.31 | 66 ratings | 6 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mobile (5:00)
2. Daichi No Ko (7:24)
3. Caucus Race (7:26)
4. Cottleston Pie (5:34)
5. Gel-Celloid (3:29)
6. Kodomo No Guntoi (10:02)
7. Terminal Man (15:12)

Total Time: 54:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Saga Yuki / vocals
- Kido Natsuki / guitar, organ
- Katsui Yuji / vocals, violin
- Ohtsubo Hirohiko / bass, vocals
- Takara Kumiko / vibraphone, marimba, percussion, piano
- Okabe Youichi / percussion, trap drum

- Yen Chang / vocals, arrangements

Releases information

Artwork: Oishi Chikaco

CD Maboroshi No Sekai ‎- MABO-006 (1996, Japan)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to tapfret for the last updates
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BONDAGE FRUIT Bondage Fruit II ratings distribution

(66 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

BONDAGE FRUIT Bondage Fruit II reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars The first track "Mobile" is like "Zeuhl 101" if you know what I mean. The great ryhthm and vocal melodies are what Zeuhl is all about. The female vocal melodies a minute in remind me of Mauricia Platon from ZAO's debut. Vibraphone arrives, and comes back later on as well. The guitar and violin join in and they are really kicking it now. The vocals 3 1/2 minutes in are so good, as the guitar grinds away and the drums pound relentlessly. This song and the final track are my favourites. "Daichi No Ko" is an uptempo song with female vocals.There is a bit of a Space Rock sound to this one, but it's the drums and vocals that are more upfront than the space vibe. The guitar solo after 3 minutes is well done. This is great driving music. Check out the drum intro on "Caucus Race" ! Vocal melodies come in only to stop and be replaced by the vibraphone briefly. Violin arrives and some aggressive guitar. The song then calms right down as all you hear are violin and bass sounds kind of playing around. The song never does get back to the original, energy filled melody.

"Cottleston Pie" feels like everything is being held back and restrained, as vocals,violin and drums lead the way. "Gel-Celloid" is uptempo with female vocal melodies, vibraphone, guitar and drums. A guitar solo follows. "Kodomo No Guntoi" opens with the drums pounding as the guitar grinds away. The vocals are tasteful in this song that seems restrained to me as well. It gets a little dissonant after 5 minutes and experimental as well. Some crazy spoken words 7 minutes in. "Terminal Man" as I mentioned earlier is one of my two favourites. This is the longest track at over 15 minutes. Vocal melodies, violin, vibraphone, bass and drums all have a part. The guitar is incredible 3 1/2 minutes in as the bass throbs. It just goes on and on. Nice. We then get a calm of guitar notes and violin sounds as drums come and go. This final section is so atmospheric ! Amazing passage ! It all ends 13 1/2 minutes in as the song starts to accellerate with a full sound including vocal melodies.

It's tough to pick which of their first two I like better. They do some different things on this one with great results

Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars "Punky" Zeuhl masterpiece

Sub-genre: Zeuhl (Probably the Bondage Fruit album that holds truest to the traditional Zeuhl definition)
For Fans of: Koenjihyakkei, Ruins, Magma, Zeuhl and RIO with shades of Punk
Vocal Style: Multiple female (occasional male), vocals are not lyrical, just melodic syllables to emphasize the vocals as instruments
Guitar Style: Raw electric distortion with acoustic breaks, as in the entire track Cottleston Pie
Keyboard Style: None
Percussion Style: Dual percussion, rock set, trap drum, congas, bongos and vibes. Most selections have a heavy urgency to the percussion
Bass Style: Electric upright played in various styles from picked jazz to rock.
Other Instruments: Violin played in various styles, acoustic and electric with creative effect usage. Often heavily Eastern influenced, tinged with Goodman/Ponty jazziness

Summary: Bondage Fruit has been a bright spot in the Japanese Progressive/Zeuhl movement, if not the brightest. None of BF's works shine more brilliantly than their second LP, taking the framework of their debut and infusing a more underground flavor to their pieces. The album marks the last that would make extensive use of pseudo-lyrical vocals. The sounds produced by dual female vox with occasional masculine additions by the drummer and bassist are presented with stylistic precision, conveying moods of eeriness, gentility and anger when strong structure demands it. Kido Natsuki's guitar is brilliant as usual. A greater amount of distortion is used than in later works with frequent dissonance which is immediately displayed in the opener, Mobile. Percussion is administered in a highly technical fashion in even the quietest moments. Kodomo No Guntoi is the best example of the psychotic interplay between set drummer Okabe Youichi and multi-percussionist Takara Kumiko. The highlight amongst many bright spots of the album is the closer Terminal Man. The 15+ minute piece opens with thrash/punk style guitar chords that blend out into complex interaction between vibes and violin. The bridge is reminiscent of one of the sinister background sounds heard in the video game "Doom" (Coincidence? The album was released very close to the games surge in popularity), backed by a violin solo not unlike the sounds of the immortal Jerry Goodman. The original verse sequence is recalled with a satisfying key change.

Final Score: While all of the even numbered Bondage Fruit albums are incredible, this one is my favorite. The use of hardcore punk blends into their established Progressive/Zeuhl foundations makes this work essential to those who appreciate Progressive music for its eclecticism. 5 stars

Review by Dobermensch
4 stars Despite the dreadful moniker and rotten front cover, 'Bondage Fruit II' from 1996 is in fact an excellent album. There's a lot of Zeuhl sound present - but also a lot of what might be termed punk. I'm liking the female vocals by women who's names are too difficult to repeat. They lift the tunes to a higher level.

Damn - the Japs are good at this kind of stuff! Magma are the clear core influences here, but whereas Magma are darker and more oppresive overall, Bondage Fruit are livelier and more playful.

There's a lot of nice strings on 'Cottleston Pie' which adds a good dose of diversity. Although, more disturbingly, I remember 'Rolf' the dog from the 'Muppet Show' singing 'Cottleston Pie' in 1976! What the????

Some parts of this album sound quite 'Koenjihyakkei' which is always a good thing in my books. The guitars are a bit too raw sounding for my liking, but the drums, bass and vocals are super. Things become quite deranged during the last 15 minutes - a bit like Tom chasing Jerry in the cartoons! Good stuff.

Review by Warthur
5 stars On Bondage Fruit's debut album was a confident showcase of their ability to master the techniques of zeuhl as set down by Magma. On this album, they blow the roof off the genre, doing more to expand the range of sounds and influences that could go into a zeuhl album than any band since Magma themselves; if anything, they sound at points on the verge of coming up with their very own genre unique to them.

As well as the usual Magma influence, listeners can expect Zappa-esque contributions on vibraphone and marimba from Takara Kumiko, a hint of the dark intensity of the more aggressive side of King Crimson, and the influence of more modern groups in punk and noise rock all coming together to create a modern prog sound like no other band. I exhort all fans of aggressive, complex prog - not just zeuhl - to sample this magnificent album; it's easily one of the most overlooked albums of mid-1990s prog.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Tokyo based BONDAGE FRUIT joined the ranks with Tatsuya Yoshida's Ruins project by adopting the Magma inspired zeuhl rhythms of Christian Vander's creation and used them as a canvas to paint upon with rich vivid colors. The self-titled debut album emerged in 1994 only after a stable lineup formed the year before. The roots of the band actually dated back to 1980 when Yuji Katsui formed the precursor band Deforme. With the debut album BONDAGE FRUIT displayed a more energetic and substantially varied mix of styles that drifted in and out over the rhythmic zeuhl underpinnings that included not only jazz and folk elements but also dished out episodes of serious avant-prog angularity. The style of zeuhl is characterized primarily by two key factors. One is a martial rhythmic drive mostly driven by the backbone of a virtuosic skilled drummer and by ethereal vocals that more often than not convey shades of color rather than meaning, mostly performed by female divas.

BONDAGE FRUIT exhibited all the required elements for a classic zeuhl band with virtuoso drummer Okabe Youichi and the vocal combo of Aki Kubota and Saga Yuki. On the debut Yuki was only a secondary vocalist with Kubota performing the lion's share of vocal duties but before the second album simply titled BONDAGE FRUIT II, Aki departed and left Saga Yuki as the primary vocal goddess to deliver all those divaliscious utterances. She was joined by the addition of Yen Chang and together they are pure magic. The rest of the noisemaking cast which included Kido Natsuki (guitar, organ), Katsui Yuji (violin), Ohtsubo Hirohiko (bass) and Takara Kuimiko (vibraphone, marimba, percussion, piano) remained and thus this second offering from one of Japan's premier punk infused jazzy-zeuhl fusion bands and BONDAGE FRUIT II takes all the excessive eccentricities of the debut and ramps them up several notches. The results of which offer one of the most creative and energetic displays of the entire zeuhl genre.

Japanese bands have always excelled at incorporating noisy punk infused guitar riffing and nowhere is this so perfectly executed than on the second installment of the BONDAGE FRUIT show. As with all great masterpieces of avant-rock, BONDAGE FRUIT II manages to create enough variety to keep your interest but also doesn't delve so far out into the experimental soundscapes as to create an unfocused album. While the tracks display a diverse run of differing tones, timbres and dynamics, a few factors offer a cohesiveness that keeps this second album humming along without skipping a beat. The martial rhythmic drive is impeccable. Youichi displays a wide range of drumming skills as he can nail the simplest primitive beats but likewise can explode into a fury of bombastic jazzed out complexities that could be heard in the most hardcore tech death metal bands. The tracks all have instantly addictive melodies that often remind me of the Canterbury Scene particularly from the Northettes on the Hatfield & The North albums.

BONDAGE FRUIT II exploits the contrasts more effectively than the debut. Beautiful melodies are in harmony with heavy dissonant guitar feedback, echoey funky chords and jazz-fusion keyboard styles from the Herbie Hancock playbook. The playful nature of the music finds many time signature gymnastics such as the wild displays on 'Kodomo No Guntai' which finds lengthy examples of instruments falling in and out of sync while avant-prog angularities decorate the steady beat that decays into sophisticated chaos yet somehow an underpinning of rhythm successfully keeps everything connected. This really is an amazing display of Japanese noise rock at its absolute best. Everything about this album works on every level and exudes an energy and excitement throughout its entirety. You know you got a winner if you want to hear the album again after you've just heard it. BONDAGE FRUIT would go through even more drastic changes as both Yuki and Chang would leave after this album. The band would become more experimental and weird but for this brief moment managed to perfectly maintain the balance between that magical emotional connection and the unhinged avant-garde.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Zeuhl, Japanese style. Some very aggressive, almost animalistic music.

1. "Mobile" (4:57) pulsing, throbbing rhythm section with busy violin and vibes and scatting female lead vocal = ZEUHL! A bit simplistic in its construction (this is no Magma), it does have the advantage of being accessible to the uninitiated listener from the get-go. I love the vocal work, both soft and full volume, in the final third--as well as the re-assessment of pace in the final 30 seconds. (8.5/10)

2. "Daichi No Ko" (7:23) punky-poppish with searing electric violin soloing in the first minute, the choral vocals (kind of call and response) throw a very catchy pop melody (almost AmerIndian) at you, carry it just the right length of time before going off into a wild animalistic frenzy in the third minute--which is then followed by an equally frenzied electric guitar solo. At the 5:00 mark there is a slowdown and shift into more sensitive, delicate passage of vocals, double bass, vibes, and multiple voices woven into a simple jazzy rhythm (the bass is actually doing a solo throughout) before a full kick back into the fast-paced melodic call-and-response movement from the opening minute (with violin seething and screeching in the background). (14/15)

3. "Caucus Race" (7:26) opens with drums and bass keyboard flying at Mach 2. Guitar, sax, and Yuki join in before giving way to marimba and male vocalist's animal noises. This is the pattern until 2:51 when everything drops back except for a super-fast rolling guitar note and accompanying bowed bass, cello and multiple violins(?) play a furious dual into a mutually satisfying group orgasm at the 5:10 mark. But does the pace let up? No! It speeds along as fast as ever until at 6:15 it stops, leaving behind one female voice to carry forward previous melody lines. Second female voice joins in and then the whole band rejoins for a frenzied animalistic finish. Another interesting and engaging song. (13.5/15)

4. "Cottleston Pie" (5:31) thought the acoustic music here sounds more SHAKTI (violin, acoustic guitar, and more traditional percussive folk instruments), the multiple vocal tracks are full-on Zeuhl. Nice performances by all! (9.25/10)

5. "Gel-Celloid" (3:27) awesome JANNICK TOP-like driving music with intricate performances from the vibes, vocalists, and violin--all brought down by the fairly standard super-speed classic rock electric guitar solo. (9/10)

6. "Kodomo No Guntoi" (10:00) opens with slow-moving female choir and plodding, militaristic drums while searing electric guitars flail away here and there. In the third minute the choral voices back off and all kinds of wild, animalistic sounds are thrown into the music from all directions--including individual voices. It's a funky, pre-historic free-for-all. (Could Yoshimi P-We's OOIOO have been born from hearing this tribalistic music?) (16.5/20)

7. "Terminal Man" (15:15) churning electric guitars, vibes, violin, choral voices, chunky bass, and metallic drums open this very Zeuhlish song. After the introductory first minute, some wild male vocalist shouts us into a more MAGMA-like section. The vibes are the only thing that make it sound different from Christian Vander & Co.--until the fourth minute when a very Dick Dale-like rhythm track takes over while the lead guitar, screaming violin, and vibes express their energy in a rather anger and aggressive fashion. This must have been very therapeutic and cathartic for the band members! In the sixth minute we get a break while wailing guitar feedback is toyed with. Slow guitar arpeggi are then played, as if seeking their TOOL-like melody, before violin begins a slowly building solo. This goes on for minutes, building into a frenzy (though not as frenetic as some of the previous music on this album!), until we finish with a celebratory Zeuhl dance of some of the music from the earlier Dick Dale section. (26.5/30)

Total Time: 54:59

Powerful music with a very aggressive, often tribalistic approach to Zeuhl, though still definitely within the "rules" of Zeuhl. B+/4.5 stars; a near masterpiece of progressive rock music and a shining example of Zeuhl taken seriously (or is it?) by a group of very talented Japanese artists.

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