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BONDAGE FRUIT

Zeuhl • Japan


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Bondage Fruit biography
Zeuhl, and particularly good Zeuhl, isn't an exclusively French phenomenon if we are to judge by this excellent Japanese outfit who have built themselves a strong reputation in the Japanese underground. Their material, which borrows more from the European school (MAGMA, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA) than the Japanese new music scene, focuses on avant-garde jazz structures, loud blaring rock'n roll and at times all-out dissonance; it ranges from rock to fusion, to experimental, to ethnic. In addition to the usual rock arsenal, they use the vibraphone, contrebass and violin quite liberally. The singing, which consists of no actual words, is provided by two female jazz vocalists and is treated as an additional instrument, adding a very personal touch to the band's sound.

They have put out six albums to date (including the live "Bondage Fruit III - Récit"), each successive release showing a marked progression towards a more experimental sound, culminating with the all-instrumental ""Bondage Fruit V - Skin". There is also an American release entitled "Selected" (1999) which is a sampler of their first three albums; however, the track selection is surprisingly tame for a band mostly known for its uncompromising ferocity. Their second cd, "Bondage Fruit II" (1996), is considered their very best; it could be described as MAGMA at their most percussive. It is full of heavy, dark tunes, typical Zeuhl hysterical vocals and weird, heavy guitar riffs.

Highly recommended for those brave enough to sample some of the boldest and finest of 90's RIO. Of particular interest to fans of MAGMA, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, UNIVERS ZERO and HAPPY FAMILY.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy BONDAGE FRUIT Music


SelectedSelected
Outer Music 1999
Audio CD$7.97
$1.65 (used)
Fruit III RecitFruit III Recit
Import
Vivid Sound
Audio CD$29.99
IVIV
Import
Musea Records France 2001
Audio CD$290.54 (used)

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BONDAGE FRUIT discography


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BONDAGE FRUIT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 42 ratings
Bondage Fruit I
1994
4.21 | 41 ratings
Bondage Fruit II
1996
4.03 | 35 ratings
Bondage Fruit III - Récit
1997
3.67 | 39 ratings
Bondage Fruit IV
1999
3.32 | 15 ratings
Bondage Fruit V - Skin
2002
4.15 | 21 ratings
Bondage Fruit VI
2005

BONDAGE FRUIT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BONDAGE FRUIT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BONDAGE FRUIT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.21 | 5 ratings
Selected
1999

BONDAGE FRUIT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BONDAGE FRUIT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bondage Fruit VI by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.15 | 21 ratings

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Bondage Fruit VI
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After a disappointing foray into post-rock on Skin, Bondage Fruit revert to self-titled albums and move on to tackle yet another prog subgenre - this time around, they've dropped the zeuhl and gone for all-out fusion. It's an intriguing mix - with percussion work extremely reminiscent of Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and furious guitar and violin soloing over the top of that in the tradition of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, arriving at a unique fusion mixture which remains vibrant and exciting over the course of the entire album. I wouldn't say it's one of their absolute best, but it's very, very good, and makes me hope for more from the future from the Fruit.

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 Bondage Fruit V - Skin by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.32 | 15 ratings

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Bondage Fruit V - Skin
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Bondage Fruit IV by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.67 | 39 ratings

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Bondage Fruit IV
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Bondage Fruit changed up their sound once again on this fourth album, taking all-instrumental route and injecting their music with influences ranging from funk to bluegrass to produce a deliriously avant-garde interpretation of the musical world. If P-Funk and the Rolling Stones got together to make a zeuhl album, perhaps the end results would sound something like this - but probably not, because whilst that sort of combination suggests a disjointed mess, somehow Bondage Fruit are able to make their bizarre juxtapositions of genres make some sort of cohesive sense. At this point, I hesitate to call Bondage Fruit a zeuhl unit - they're way off in their own sonic universe which has very little precedent.

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 Bondage Fruit IV by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.67 | 39 ratings

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Bondage Fruit IV
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Organic Wild Berry Jam

After finally digesting Magma, I decided to try out some other Zeuhl artists and Bondage Fruit inevitably came into the rotation. Their fourth album was rated their best and I picked it up on that merit. The sound of this record was a surprise, quite a departure from Magma or even more prototypical Japanese Zeuhl like Koenjihyakkei. Instead, we get a mixture of jazz fusion via both Weather Report and Mahavishnu, Krautrock ethic, a touch of Japanese noise, and wild energy. Clearly, the six tracks here are less "songs" than jams with very intentional moods or feels. Some have melodic themes that serve as an anchor, but more often each piece finds its identity in the timbre of the instruments, the groove of the rhythm section, the emotion of the expression. Despite the seemingly very disparate influences I'll describe, the music is surprisingly coherent. A very organic "live in the studio" feel is achieved, and I'm fairly confident these artists would have been very capable of recreating these works live.

1. Minus One - The album opens with a strummed bluesy clean electric guitar riff that quickly gives way to a chaotic mixture of big bass, somewhat abrasive jazz violin, and mallets. The almost Hendrix-y riff periodically brings the mess back to reality several times before it gets to tiresome. There is also one shared melodic line that adds some sanity. Well done, but my least favorite song on the album. Luckily, the album gets progressively better as is goes.

2. Prayer - Just when we thought we were in for an hour of loose jazz-rock jams, in comes a swampy guitar playing a remarkably straight two-note groove. Bluesy harmonica and guitar remind of a Chicago night club late on Thursday night or maybe early Friday morning. After this mood is established, there are intermittent druggy passages that seem like scenes in a film noir movie.

3. Screen Game - From slowly bluesy drugged out swamp to the real thing. A quick slide guitar opens this one before the drums and keys enter with an intensity that seems like an out of control carnival train. This piece has some small melodic motifs that hold the solo sections together. This is the quirkiest and most unique of the tracks, as if the best jam band at Bonnaroo said "Ok, now that we've rocked your sox, now we're going to REALLY go crazy."

4. Storm Bird Storm Dreamer - the groove on this song is provided by a very fast strummed acoustic guitar that continues with little variation for 12 minutes. (I can't imagine the muscle fatigue this must have caused.) This constant allows for some of the widest excursions and improvisation on the album. Wild proggy key tones, soaring violin lines, and rapid walking bass solos over the rhythm bed which includes some nice tribal-tinged drumming. One of my favorites of the album.

5. Sono-bank - Starts with another clean guitar funk riff which quickly morphs into a much more complex, somewhat polyrhythmic base track. By two minutes in, the piece is very free form while still maintaining its constant, fast pulse. Again, this anchor is what makes these wild experimentations work for me. Similar pieces by other bands that float without real time are just too chaotic for me. This is a bit overlong to be sure, but if you're familiar with instrumental space jams, this won't bother too much.

6. Old Blind Cat - Opens in typical space-jam echoes before a blue-grassy fiddle over tabla!! established the groove. Along with chanting and slide guitar, this song finishes the album on a quirky happy note.

Bottom line...this ain't Zeuhl but it's really good. It's not the most ambitious work, but it does what it attempts to do very well. 3.5 stars rounded up for energy. For fans of jazz-fusion, space rock, Krautrock, and trippy fun.

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 Bondage Fruit III - Récit by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.03 | 35 ratings

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Bondage Fruit III - Récit
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This live album sees Bondage Fruit moving even further away from the zeuhl heartland they originated in - in fact, for much of the album they resemble an even more noisy and harder- rocking version of King Crimson circa Larks' Tongues In Aspic, with a few heavy doses of jazz fusion and a slide order of plain old rock and roll to spice things up. It's a high-energy mix which doesn't seem quite as original as their brilliant second album - at points the resemblance to mid-1970s King Crimson approaches the uncanny - but which is an impressive enough album to be worth a listen for all zeuhl, RIO, fusion and eclectic prog fans.

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 Bondage Fruit II by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.21 | 41 ratings

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Bondage Fruit II
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Bondage Fruit I by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.90 | 42 ratings

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Bondage Fruit I
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Bondage Fruit's debut album is a remarkably well-realised presentation of the band's unique sound, which takes the standard zeuhlish martial rhythms and applies a diverse compositional approach to it and an unusual set of instruments (for a zeuhl band) in order to achieve a sonic atmosphere which, whilst bearing the heritage of Magma here or there, is otherwise entirely original to the band. Kastui Yuji's violin deserves particular mention, Yuji displaying both an enviable virtuosity and an extensive capacity to rock out; at points I am reminded of the amazing violin solo at the end of Baba O'Riley, and any band capable of bridging Magma and The Who is surely one to watch.

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 Bondage Fruit IV by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.67 | 39 ratings

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Bondage Fruit IV
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

2 stars IV-gettable

I hold Bondage Fruit's fourth album (with a Chicago-esque naming scheme) in the same regard as Ahvak's lone album; avant-garde, musically sound, does everything correctly in the ''Wow, I'm very impressed'' department, yet it is lacking in warmth and devoid of anything memorable. Everything the band does in the overall musicality is wondrous, but you run across albums at times where the parts don't really add up to anything.

Actually, there is one hitch that BONDAGE FRUIT IV offers that gives it uniqueness; it's an RIO/Zeuhl album that got stuck in Louisiana for a couple of songs. I can point out the beginning of ''Screen Game'' have a unique slide guitar sound but veers off into psych rock afterwards and the raga-country of ''Old Blind Cat''. My big problem is that the themes all around are nice, but are just meh after a few minutes because the development isn't engaging. Bondage Fruit are missing some intangibles of long form jamming on this record, specifically in the longer tracks.

A quick few words about the longer numbers: ''Storm Bird, Storm Dreamer'' sounds like the guitarist and drummer laid down a basic track and the other members of the band overdubbed noodling over the top; noodling that sometimes comes up with a theme, but a lot of times sounds like bad, unplanned improvising. ''Sono Bank'' has a nice start, but it sounds like no one seems to know what to do in terms of developing the jam leaving it rather unfocused and hard to sit through (especially at nineteen minutes).

Yes, I understand that BONDAGE FRUIT IV is wacky, experimental and ''out there'', but those qualities alone a good album do not make. I would reward the album more if I thought that the experimentalism was anywhere enjoyable. There are better Zeuhl, experimental and psych-jamming releases out there, and I would only recommend this album to anyone that wants to hear bluegrass pop up in a Zeuhl album.

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 Bondage Fruit III - Récit by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.03 | 35 ratings

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Bondage Fruit III - Récit
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by João Paulo

4 stars Another album of this band that show us a special moments of Zheul atmosphere. Some tracks are fast music, alternating with other bands slower and melodic. The drums work provides a touch dizzying Zheul that it´s the subject for this band. This is a mixed Magma and Ruins context with some slow guitar moments in the begining of the tracks and finish with a crazy fast parts. Very crazy drum´s and guitar moments that people that like Zheul are follin in love after listen this band. Long crazy tracks and not comercial music that we must listen lot of times to untherstand the contex and realy apreciate this album. We can see a mixed of Zheul and Psichedelic Space Rock that give a unique music moments 4 stars but really 4,5 stars and a very good adiction of Zheul fans

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 Bondage Fruit I by BONDAGE FRUIT album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.90 | 42 ratings

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Bondage Fruit I
Bondage Fruit Zeuhl

Review by João Paulo

4 stars Japanese Zeuhl band prior to koenjihyakkei. Much in the more aggressive Japanese Zeuhl as accustomed in Ruins The songs are very complex but balanced, both in execution and in the composition I'm a fan of konenjiyankkey and found the fruit recently, and to me, both are a great performance bands. This first album did not exceed the limits but is origin al in the way that made the global balance of all music instruments. This is a band tha we can made a context collection of Japanese Zheul, just Ruins and Koenji and is a fair of great bands of contemporaneity. The first time I heard this album I was pleasantly surprised by its quality. I give 4 stars for this great music moment

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