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DAIMONJI

Zeuhl • Japan


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Daimonji biography
True to their album title, "IMProg" (which also happens to be the band's name when they started out), this trio of keyboard, bass and drums sets their own rules, delivering a hard and enthusiastic product that is totally improvised. Like some kind of super-powered prog engine, their music is a collection of moods that burst into challenging sequences of zeuhl-flavored jazz. The band consists of keyboard player and vocalist Hoppy Kamiyama (of Japanese pop band PINK), drummer Tatsuya Yoshida (from RUINS) and bassist Nasuno Mitsuni (from ALTERED STATES and KOREKYOJIN).

Their only album (a live one, although it hardly sounds like one) is 77-minute long four-piece musical maelstrom full of breaks, intensity and changing atmospheres. What is most impressive about this material is that it doesn't sound like your typical deconstructed RIO, or avant-prog with pockets of free improve thrown in. It is actually structurally and metrically, highly complex prog played by virtuoso musicians at the top of their art.

Absolutely recommended to fans of RUINS and MAGMA; in fact, to anyone looking for some challenging and exciting fusion.

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

Daimonji official website

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I'm Getting Sentimental Over YouI'm Getting Sentimental Over You
Import
Vivo (Poland) 2007
Audio CD$17.88
$34.90 (used)
MEIKYUU IRIMEIKYUU IRI
VIVID SOUND (JAPAN)
Audio CD$19.72
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DAIMONJI discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
2006

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

3.64 | 11 ratings
IMProg
2003
3.55 | 6 ratings
Into A Blind Alley
2005

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DAIMONJI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 IMProg by DAIMONJI album cover Live, 2003
3.64 | 11 ratings

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IMProg
Daimonji Zeuhl

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

2 stars The title of the album is taken from combining two words, 'improvisation' and 'prog'. It is at this point that some people will leave this review, shaking their head sadly, while others may be a little more intrigued. Yes, this is a fully improvised album, divided into four 'songs', where this Japanese trio certainly kick up a storm. In fact this album has much more in common with jazz than it does with prog, and the freeform style that they portray will certainly find more fans with the former than with the latter. There is no doubt that they are all extremely proficient musicians, but does that in this case make for interesting music? It is certainly more challenging than it is enjoyable, and is hard work. Does the listener get much out of it apart from a headache from the amount of concentration that is required? Probably not.

Originally appeared in Feedback #78, April 2004

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 Into A Blind Alley by DAIMONJI album cover Live, 2005
3.55 | 6 ratings

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Into A Blind Alley
Daimonji Zeuhl

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

3 stars Sending our long lost family members on their way on wings of fire

I came into this album by way of drummer extraordinaire Tatsuya Yoshida, who's been like a Japanese godfather to all things prog during the last couple of decades. Well he still is actually...When I then heard that he'd teamed up with bassist Mitsuru Nasuno from one of his other bands called Korekyojinn, I started levitating and began to utter strange words in Spanish - even if I only know cerveza and arriba! Damn, I need to get my hands on this!

Finishing this power trio off is Hoppy Kamiyama who apparently is a wellknown character in the Japanese pop world - playing in a band called Pink. Just don't expect this venture to have any sort of reference to pop, choruses, melody lines or layer cake production. No no no - this music was made in front of an audience without any means of direction. Free form improvisation taking you out on adventurous trailblazing tangents. In many ways, Into a Blind Alley is the musical equivalent of sticking your head into a washing machine inhabited by a king cobra, red hot butter and stinging nettles.

Daimonji is to most of us westerners, a word that simply sounds oriental - meaning that it could just as well be a famous liquorice candy floss as a way of ordering bacon in a restaurant: DAIMONJI!!! And be quick about it! Daimonji is in fact the highlight of the ancient cultural O-bon festival in Kyoto, in which the spirits of deceased family members return to the spirit world by way of fire. O-bon is the time of year where these spirits visit our earthly realm, and when the time has come for them to return, 5 bonfires are lit on the mountains above the city enclosing it in a fiery embrace.

Maybe this spiritual fire - sending the ghosts of beloved family members on their way - is now transformed into the sonic universe? Maybe this band has conjured up a new form of musical voodoo that stands instead of the fiery mountainside? Either way, I find the whole history and culture of the name fascinating. When you then start listening to this power trio and what they intend to do with their music, the aforementioned notion suddenly take on life beyond the world of ideas. There is so much power behind this band, and simply calling them a power trio fails to do them justice. This is spiritual release enveloped in musical flaming rage.

Yoshida's drumming on here, for starters, is just relentless and unforgiving. When I first heard this album, I thought it sounded like an enraged man leaving the saloon after a bottle of whiskey and then throwing himself into the drum kit like a missile of meat. The feel of the drums is that of a deep pounding punishing calling - echoing true primal lust - that little part of your brain that remembers the fear of snakes and reptiles.

Even if the music is totally improvised and free, it still has a lot of the same trades you'll find in well structured orchestrated music. I don't know how they've managed to pull this off, but they sure do. Some sort of metaphysical bond that runs through the midst of this band going before anything else - making sure of itself and then appearing like music that sounds like it has been rehearsed and fine- tuned - even if it still has that raw serrated feel to it. If anything, this is something you'll normally find in a jazz band.

Some times you hear each instrument leaving the comfort of their home - they part ways and set sail for the unknown - tearing the 'structure' and music to bits and pieces. The music grows wild and unforgiving, and when you finally think they've truly lost their marbles and the music never ever will return to music again, you hear a subtle breathing keyboard underneath the chaos - binding everything together in a most ingenious way. Nothing short of stunning. I can't tell you just how much I love this particular trade.

Zeuhl, free-jazz, improvisation and loony-toons vocals that remind this listener of a teenage Russian gargling his way through an opera audition, Daimonji's second outing is just about everything I love about adventurous music - and then some! This one comes highly recommended, especially if you adore musical experimentation without a safety net.

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 IMProg by DAIMONJI album cover Live, 2003
3.64 | 11 ratings

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IMProg
Daimonji Zeuhl

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars A totally new name to me, but one I will keep an eye on in the future. The same can be said about the musicians here.

This is a side project of Ruins and other Japanese bands. This is also a live album and it seems like the band is mostly a live band. No reason to waste valuable time in the studio, then.

The music here is zeuhl and pretty similar to the zeuhl Magma does. But their brand of zeuhl also have pretty much have a crossover appeal to Soft Machine fans like myself. It is from that angle I approach this album. The music is dense, jazzy and pretty much the ABC of zeuhl.

The quality is almost frightening great. It is obvious the musicians here is of a quality the rest of us can only admire and hopelessly aspire to. The compositions are great, although I guess largely improvised. The tangent playing here is absolute great and the best thing about this album.

In short; I can only add my praise to this album which is one of the better zeuhl albums around.

4 stars

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 IMProg by DAIMONJI album cover Live, 2003
3.64 | 11 ratings

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IMProg
Daimonji Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Fans of underground Japanese music will know who Yoshida and Hoppy are without mentioning the rest of their names. In other words these two guys are famous in the Zeuhl, Rio / Avant genres of Japanese music. Also on board is bassist Nasuno who plays with Yoshida in KOREKYOJIN. Actually Hoppy has guested on one of their albums as well. So many connections though between these guys including Hoppy and Yoshida playing with Hopper and Dean in SOFT MOUNTAIN, but there's many more. This is definitely Zeuhl by the way, no doubts about that.This is DAIMONJI's first recording and it's a live one. What we get is over 77 minutes of improvs from these three guys who do this very well.

"Glimpse" opens in an experimental, spacey yet chaotic manner.The drums, bass and piano eventually take the lead. Some crazy vocal outbursts after 5 minutes that come and go. Harsh synths after 8 minutes and some spacey synths 11 minutes in.Vocals are back after 11 1/2 minutes. "Mongo Lian Bandits" opens with synth sounds, Vander-like vocal melodies that are high pitched and experimental sounds. It settles down then the tempo starts to pick up with vocal expressions and sparse piano 3 1/2 minutes in. Dual vocals 4 1//2 minutes in. Piano 5 minutes leads then the bass and drums join in. A calm 9 minutes in then it picks back up and becomes intense. Synths are prominant before 14 1/2 minutes then these crazy vocals come in a minute later. The drums rumble 17 minutes in as the piano plays over top. Vocals are back around 19 1/2 minutes.

"Night Dust / Monosyllable Sex)" opens with what sounds like guitar then vocals after a minute. Loud synth sounds before 4 minutes. A good rhythm 6 1/2 minutes in and more synths join in. It settles 8 1/2 minutes in then picks back up. It settles again before 12 minutes then kicks back in to an intense sound 14 minutes in.Insane vocals before 15 1/2 minutes. Check out the singing before 18 minutes.It ends with applause. "Ombre Moned" opens with synths as vocal expressions join in. Sparse piano comes and goes. It starts to build 4 minutes in. This is good.Drums and keys lead the way in this intense section. It settles 7 1/2 minutes in as we get some bowed bass. It kicks back in quickly as drum start to beat wildly with prominant bass and crazy synth sounds. A calm before 10 minutes then it picks back up 11 1/2 minutes as contrasts continue.There's those high pitched Vander-like vocals 19 minutes in again.

It feels good to finally own this album.Timing is everything. A solid 4 stars for these Zeuhl improvs.

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 IMProg by DAIMONJI album cover Live, 2003
3.64 | 11 ratings

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IMProg
Daimonji Zeuhl

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Daimonji's debut is excellent example of new Japanese fusion/zeuhl based avant -garde music. Trio with Ruin's drummer Yoshida Tatsuya on board recorded half of their debut album just during their first ever concert! And it's not all - all the album (4 long compositions) is fully improvised music!

Don't be afraid though - differently from usual free form endless jams of improvised albums, ImProg is greatly structurised album, with many changes, emotions, different elements. In fact, at the end of the day you will hardly believe that album is fully improv!

Musically mostly based on progressive jazz fusion, but with huge influence from Magma, this album contains excellent combination of complex, dark, psyche but at the same time easy accessible music. Add operatic vocals, jazzy keyboards passages and Soft Machine-like pieces included.

Really, one of the greatest Japanese prog release from the beginning of new Millennium. Excellent entrance to this country's progressive music.

My rating - 4+!

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 IMProg by DAIMONJI album cover Live, 2003
3.64 | 11 ratings

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IMProg
Daimonji Zeuhl

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There might be a lot of still active in region in the home country and other countries musicians in the item of Avant-Prog of Japan. Various elements are being flooded for the music of Japan now. It might be evidence that the culture that Japan had had gradually originally accomplished the revolution. The music of an of course original tradition exists, too. And, there is music that succeeds in uniting other good parts, too.

Various elements , for example, Ruins-Koenjihyakkei if it thinks about conditions surrounding Japan for the field of Avant-Prog. Or, the flow that requires an experimental sense has derived on the boundary of the 80's. Members of this band are musicians active in the flow.

The music that Tathuya Yoshida had shown in the line of Ruins-koenjihyakkei might have been a flow achieved with the flow that concretely showed a certain kind of theme and the idea. The world that Tathuya Yoshida created after that made the listener listen to the performance showing rapid various shape.

Tune of performance and band that he did of course. Or, it might be difficult to understand thought and the theme enough. However, his world might be originally music offered by the skin by the catching sensibility though his theme is consistent. And, the listener might have also to catch their music with the sensibility.

In the stage, these three people who were the support members of the singer of the woman who was called active "Jun Togawa" in Japan before were often announcing the performance. Tathuya Yoshida of Ruins. And, Mithuru Nasuno of Altered States. And, active Hoppy Kamiyama in the band that is called "Pink" in the 80's. Three performances that had often been doing were indeed high-quality Improvisation. They start operations naming "Improgre" and the name in 2002. And, when this album is announced, the name has been renamed to "Daimonji".

It challenges the mix of Prog Rock and improvisation and this performance and agility of three people have succeeded splendidly. The work of this band might be very high-quality and be well-balanced in work of related of Tathuya Yoshida past. The song of Zeuhl in addition to the impression of the element of Jazz twines well. And, the tension is continued. Especially, the work of the keyboard demonstrates the response. The composition of the tune with the tension of the sound and the Mahavishnu orchestra that looks like EL&P while almost taking the form of Inprovisation offers the listener the flow to which the forecast doesn't adhere. The part where the performance is rough will be canceled by the tension and fast and slow. The band that develops a high-quality performance though it is a performance by live gives an excellent impression. It might be one evidence that three people show one's true ability to its maximum. By the way, they tried the opening act of live of Zao done to the following debuting age in Japan.

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 Into A Blind Alley by DAIMONJI album cover Live, 2005
3.55 | 6 ratings

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Into A Blind Alley
Daimonji Zeuhl

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The second Daimonji album sees the dynamic trio unleashing yet more of their improvised prog onto an unsuspecting world. The debut album featured a lot of Fender Rhodes piano (or something which sounds very similar) and had something of a zeuhl feel; on this occasion there are more synths in evidence and the sound is what you might get if a RIO band was let loose on ELP's equipment. Symphonic prog sounds are the order of the day, although the musical style is firmly in avant prog territory.

Starstruck kicks off with a squall of vintage moog sounds from Hoppy Kaniyama and Yoshida Tatsuya giving his kit a sound thrashing before the trio settle into a groove that bears a passing resemblance to an Acid Mothers Temple free form freak out. Mitsuro Natsuno underpins everything with an urgent, rumbling bass line that stalks the other two musicians like a hungry predator. Some zeuhl style vocals pop up occasionally, with Yoshida and Hoppy singing in a harmony of their own invention, but for the first part of the piece it's the synths that steal the show. It's clear that they had progressed considerably since their debut, with more assertive bass work from Natsuno and Yoshida easing up on his kit to sound more like a jazz drummer at times, while Hoppy shifts between synth, mellotron, organ and electric piano sounds at will. The vocals are better incorporated than before, and in general it sounds like the three musicians have benefited from some extensive gigging together. As the piece unfolds the sound shifts closer to their debut album, with piano taking over as the main keyboard sound and passages that sound more like free jazz than prog rock, although the groove usually reasserts itself within a few bars. The 20 minute epic draws to a close with some freeform piano and vocal, having covered a remarkable variety of musical bases. The remaining 3 pieces are all a little more concise at 12 - 13 minutes long, but the sound and style are consistent with the Starstruck. Some of the jazz influences that could be heard on their first outing occasionally pop up, but for the most part it's vintage prog sounds with an avant prog sensibility; if you liked their earlier work, you'll love this.

It's difficult to choose between this album and Daimonji's first release. The greater variety of keyboard sounds and the sharper focus in the playing are definite pluses, but Yoshida's vocals are something of an acquired taste and may be off putting for newcomers. The playing is superb and the interplay between the three musicians is occasionally breathtaking, but this is free improvisation and the sound does get very abstract at times. Four stars, with half a star extra if you're a fan of Japanese avant prog.

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 IMProg by DAIMONJI album cover Live, 2003
3.64 | 11 ratings

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IMProg
Daimonji Zeuhl

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is a highly enjoyable album that grew out of a side project. The trio, including Ruins mainstay Yoshida Tatsuya, are all members of the Jun Togawa band, whose concerts usually start with some improvisation. This became a project in itself, and the four lengthy tracks on this album come from two concerts including their debut alongside the remarkable Bondage Fruit.

For the most part this is a long way from the manic hardcore Zeuhl of Ruins, although there are similarities with the Syphonica album. There is a strong Zeuhl feel to these pieces, however, and Yoshida gives his Magma fixation free rein. There are some interesting vocal interludes, some more successful than others, and for much of the time (particularly on the first two tracks) the main keyboard is electric piano - at times the sound is extremely close to Wurdah Itah or Live:Hhai. There's also a very jazzy feel to a lot of the music, which occasionally calls Soft Machine circa 3 and 4 to mind. The real surprise is just how melodic and accessible this is, given that all the music was improvised. There are occasional discordant passages, but for the most part it's easy to forget that this all occurred spontaneously. Fans of old school prog keyboards will also enjoy those segments where Hoppy Kamiyama moves away from electric piano to his synths, which he deploys to great effect. There are moments of remarkable interplay here; at times there is a kind of musical game of tag, where two of the musicians will lock into a groove and the third will play across it, the three musicians trading places so that at any given time one will be taking the lead for a couple of bars before trading places with one of the others. Most of the album is tight, upbeat and remarkably easy on the ears.

Newcomers to Japan's remarkable prog scene, in particular the Zeuhl influenced bands, would do well to start here, while established fans of Bondage Fruit, Koenjihyakkei, Happy Family and so on will find plenty to enjoy. Not everything works, because that's the nature of improvised music, but it's rare to hear improvisations as coherent and accessible as this in any context. The musicians are all at the top of their game and turn in remarkable performances. Warmly recommended to any adventurous prog fans.

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