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Bondage Fruit Bondage Fruit V - Skin album cover
3.41 | 28 ratings | 5 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Skin (29:27)
2. Frasco (19:40)

Total time 49:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Kido Natsuki / guitar, mandolin, valiha, organ, co-producer
- Katsui Yuji / violin, sampler, co-producer
- Ohtsubo Hirohiko / bass
- Takara Kumiko / vibraphone, percussion
- Okabe Youichi / percussion, trap drum

Releases information

Artwork: Workshy-Oishi

CD Maboroshi No Sekai ‎- MABO-013 (2002, Japan)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to tapfret for the last updates
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Buy BONDAGE FRUIT Bondage Fruit V - Skin Music

BONDAGE FRUIT Bondage Fruit V - Skin ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BONDAGE FRUIT Bondage Fruit V - Skin reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Zheul style continues to be a breeding ground for excellent organized sound in the new millennium, and the dark, atmospheric "Skin" album is a solid proof of that. Bondage Fruit's 5th album contains only two tracks, and it's the first one in which there is no vocal input. This bizarre Japanese quintet decided for this 2002 event that they might as well incorporate the somber, minimalist density of post-rock into their usual Zheul-meets-RIO sound. The namesake opener lasts almost half an hour, during which the band creates a dreamy amalgam of languid introspective flows and mysterious dissonant slow tides: something like a marriage of Sigur Ros at their most epic and Univers Zero at their most constrained. The desperately slow pace which the drum kit uses to set the pace serves as an architectonic ground for the diverse snippets of guitar, violin, ultra-fuzzed bass and ultra-echoed vibes that go appearing like clouds of half-silent anguish heavily crossing a sky of uncertainty. The final result is really sullen, but not devoid of energy. It's like the soundtrack of a mind's perpetual journey into its own hidden corners, having nothing left but lugubrious thoughts to hold on to during its state of isolation. The last 7 minutes are occupied by a sinister climax that may remind the listener of the most oppressive side of Univers Zero's "Uzed". 'Skin' is a masterful demonstration of how stark darkness can become majestic through the magic of music, but 'Frasco' is my favorite track of the two. Lasting 20- minutes, 'Frasco' displays a more varied set of musical colors in the fore. The long intro consists of a succession of violin, guitar and assorted percussion aleatory touches flowing on a frame built by valiha and vibes. It all remains for a while as some sort of avant-garde landscape that bears a strong oriental feel. When the eighth minute is about to start, a guitar riff emerges from the magma (pun intended) in order to activate the elegant explosion that is to take place for the rest of the piece. Bondage Fruit lets go of its inherent energy and sense of color to create a most exciting jam that is pretty much inspired in the "Udu- Wudu"-era Magma and 80s-era Present. Psychedelia, dissonant jazz-rock and academic avant-garde are the ingredients in this massive demonstration of pulsations and constant climaxes. Although the violin and the electric guitar are the obvious leading stars in the instrumentation, the fact is that drummer Okabe Youichi shines with a light of his own all throughout this jamming. The rolls and other sundry percussive adornments that he so energetically displays while beating the drums allow him to expand his role in the rhythm department, being able of influencing on the overall dynamics. This is, in fact, Zheul in a more accessible vein, as opposed to their compatriots of Ruins. Those who intend to explore this prog genre from a neophyte's position, might as well get started with "Skin" and see what happens. Those who are already familiar with Zheul and RIO and really enjoy, will also enjoy this one, although they'll need to pay close attention to the subtleties in order to find the real genius of the material. A very recommended item for the most adventurous prog-head.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars It seems like every BONDAGE FRUIT album is different from the rest, and this certainly is no exception. Two songs make up this record including the almost 30 minute title track. There are no vocals on this one, and Cesar Inca makes a good point that this record seems to have been influenced by Post-Rock. The two long songs allow the band to add or take away sounds at their leisure, and so we get a lot of repetition like some of the Krautrock I love. As l listened to this record many times, I didn't think of Post-Rock or Krautrock, these guys have the ability to make whatever style of music they play their very own. These two songs are very different from one another, the first being dark and powerful while the second fits neither of those adjectives, but does incorporate more variety and is brighter.

"Skin" opens with electronic? sounds that last for the first 5 minutes, they are joined by violin a minute in. 2 1/2 minutes in the drums arrive, and the guitar comes in at 4 minutes. The first 5 minutes are slow moving, and the instruments mentioned really create no melodies as they come and go, playing slowly and briefly each time. It's 5 minutes in when the heaviness arrives, as a still slow and powerful soundscape takes over. The drums are very heavy while the guitar is ripping as it comes and goes. We get some brief vibes after 19 minutes,and the outburst of drumming 22 minutes in is fantastic ! It's so powerful 25 minutes in. Violin arrives 28 minutes in to end the song. That was amazing !

Like "Skin" had that electronic? sound for the first 5 minutes to create a rhythm to build around, "Frasco" opens with valiha for about 8 1/2 minutes to accomplish a rhythm as well. The valiha is an instrument that is shaped like a flute and is made of bamboo, it is plucked as it has strings. Eastern sounds and others come and go. I like the vibraphone on this track. The scorching guitar that arrives 4 1/2 minutes in comes and goes. When the valiha leaves it is replaced by the violin, vibraphone, and other sounds. Nice guitar / violin melody as percussion and bass help out. The song ends with lots of guitar feedback.

I still like their first record the best, but would recommend any of their studio albums. This one requires more patience than the rest in my opinion, but the rewards are worth the effort.

Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Fairly minimalist adventure for a usually busy ensemble

Sub-genre: Zeuhl (slipping further from traditional Zeuhl with each album, which is only important from a categorical perspective)
For Fans of: King Crimson, hint of Mahavishnu influence
Vocal Style: None
Guitar Style: Bluesy to jazzy electric and acoustic
Keyboard Style: none (somewhere is a sampler, but I have yet to identify it)
Percussion Style: Dual, both percussionists play a standard rock set with one jumping on vibes and trap drum.
Bass Style: Upright electric, sometimes picked with long droning sections, sometimes bowed
Other Instruments: Vilaha, mandolin

Summary: Skin is Bondage Fruit's least accessible album, both from a product availability as well as from a musical direction standpoint. Instead of the usual collection of varied style 6-7 songs that listeners of Bondage Fruit have come to expect, Skin puts 49 minutes of music into 2 songs. The title track is almost hour of what are basically two themes. The first being a very slow two note bass progression that becomes a single ambient drone. This is occasionally backed by percussive flurries. The other theme is a large resolution chord sequence. The structure is such that it is hard to identify any traditional sense of verse/chorus structure. One is reminded of a drawn out King Crimson improvisation with little dissonance. Frasco opens with mesmerizing mandolin and vilaha, but finds the bands Mahavishnu Orchestra influence in about the 8th minute. An enjoyable jazzy sequence closes the song into a single focus of feedback. The whole album is less reliant on vibes, so important to the bands identity, as their other albums. The Eastern flavor is also hidden, despite the instrumentation present at the beginning of Frasco.

Final Score: This is a good album that most progheads will enjoy, but probably only essential if you are a Bondage Fruit completist as I am. This is the BF album I reach for last. Solid 3 stars.

Review by Warthur
2 stars More or less every Bondage Fruit album up to this point saw them evolving their sound by leaps and bounds, but their fifth album may be their greatest departure of all. The fact that it has a title - Skin - is the first clue, but the real shock comes when you listen to it and hear that this band who for the four preceding albums had perfected a fast and furious playing style combining Zeuhl with Crimsonish guitar workouts and threw in some modern influences to round things off - have slowed things waaaay down, and seem to be making some sort of stab at post-rock. Unfortunately, they aren't so adept at creating tension and atmosphere through slow, sparse playing as post-rock veterans such as Godspeed You Black Emperor or Mogwai, and the end result is much less interesting than their prior albums.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars If GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR went Zeuhl, the ever-evolving Zeuhl veterans have slowed things down, drawn them out, removed the vocals, and chosen to explore the sound that the space between percussive hits can occupy. Gone are the Crimsonian dynamics or Magma-esque constructs, welcome in the bluesy foundation of all rock 'n' roll, even to Zeuhl! Never before have the commonalities between Zeuhl and UNIVERS ZERO been so evident.

1. "Skin" (29:27) Zeuhl takes a trip to the deep bayou of Louisiana. The music and the performances are still stunning, virtuosic, amazingly tight considering the pace and spacing. Drummer Okabe Youichi is especially impressive for his solid ability to adhere to this very challenging pace while continuing to display his virtuosity. Huge chills when acoustic guitar strums enter at 17:00; great chord progression. Then, in the 20th minute, we return to awesome sparsity and restraint. Again, this drummer deserves to be credited with so much for this brave and spiritual performance. The finish is a kind of Post Rock coming together of all elements and instruments in a cacophonous anti-climax before solo bowed bass takes us slowly out. While not a real fan of Louisiana blues, I know when something special has been achieved, and this is special. I feel as if I have just been put through a religious ceremony; it's as if Miles Teller has reached that level of ecstatic mastery that he fought so hard for in the film Whiplash!. Wonderful stuff! (56.5/60)

2. "Frasco" (19:40) opens with the sound of a traditional Japanese stringed instrument called a "valiha" playing solo. Repetitive single muted electric guitar chord strum is repeated and somewhat arpeggiated while vibes, bass, heavily effected electric guitar, and hand percussion instruments play around above and beneath. Valiha continues to ejaculate riffs between those of a variety of electric guitar sounds and other instruments. In the seventh minute the electric guitar and violin begin to take over the main melody line and, as the other instruments all fall away, the musical fabric itself. By the halfway mark a kind of Japanified Latinized Mahavishnu Orchestra jam has been set in motion--violin and guitar, of course, taking the lead presentations. Interesting! The music then morphs into a more JEFF BECK-like jam with a fairly simple and straightforward melodic riff steering the course to the end. Nice but not my favorite stuff from Bondage Fruit. (34/40)

Total time 49:07

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of evolving Zeuhl and an excellent addition to the lexicon of progressive rock music. While the title piece is, in my opinion, a prog masterpiece, the second epic falls well short of these heights.

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