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KATRA TURANA

RIO/Avant-Prog • Japan


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Katra Turana biography
KATRA TURANA landed suddenly down on Tokyo underground rock scene as one of obscure Japanese avantgarde outfits in 1980. Their ensemble consisted of some acoustic instruments based on a violin and a piano. On stage they used various rubbishy stuffs as percussion and cooked avantgarde musical dinner with folk, chanson, jazz, and rock essence. And after all, their symbol was Atsushi HIROIKE, the vocalist and the performer disguised as a woman with powerful 'feminine' voices. His early life, spent in the 'antique' house of his grandparents, should influence much on his musical style and policy.

In 1982, via a Japanese indie label Telegraph Records, KATRA TURANA released the eponymous debut album - featuring as many elements as on stage - that could be approved by lots of avantgarde freaks or reviewers. What a shame they could not get away from underground, and disappeared without notice after releasing the second album 'Kimera' (1986).

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KATRA TURANA discography


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

3.91 | 6 ratings
Katra Turana
1982
4.00 | 2 ratings
Kimera
1986

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

4.00 | 2 ratings
The End (Gradient Of Texture)
1985

KATRA TURANA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Katra Turana by KATRA TURANA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.91 | 6 ratings

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Katra Turana
Katra Turana RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The evidence that the world is full to the brim of amazing and wonderful music can be demonstrated every time one discovers an album as breathtaking and wonderful as this one, and finds out that it doesn't even classify as a cult classic!

Katra Turana are an underground Japanese avant-garde band with a very melodic, theatrical sound that is lead by the male and female vocals of Atsushi Hiroike (you read that correctly; he does both). The music is very lovely, with a great lineup containing xylophone, violin, and piano (as well as other instruments) that create very organic sounding music.

I have fallen pretty much head over heels in love with this album. It is a bit difficult to find nowadays (probably always has been really) but it is definitely worth the time to seek it out, and at the very least there are some tracks available for streaming on youtube.

The second track is a superb example of why this album strikes such a chord with me. It starts of very simple - xylophone timidly and tentatively starts to form the first melody, but it stumbles and it falters, as if it is unsure of itself - then suddenly the piano emerges, itself a little tentative, but it says, "Wait, i think I see where you are going." and the xylophone gains a bit more confidence. Together they come closer to the actual melody, until they "find" it and are joined by very subtle drumwork. Then the strength of the music seems to carry them forward, until a lovely accompanying violin line joins in (oh, that violin! It seems to breathe confidence and structure into our previously timid instruments), and before you know it, the whole band has joined in, but the xylophone holds on to the melody, now adding fills where before there were gaps. And my heart! Those violins, which play a different melody alongside, really tug at the heart strings! But then there is a sad turn - the other instruments leave and the xylophone and piano stumble and falter again - before the lovely vocals of Atsushi arrive (here, singing in his "female" voice).

This in fact only describes the opening movement of the track, and it proceeds to follow the optimistic-but-still-somehow-fragile vocals of Atsushi, and a new melody is introduced that, while perhaps not quite as bittersweet as the opening melody, will immediately entice you. We also get a bit of a sense of where the avant-garde tendencies come from as the melody seems to almost distort and age; truthfully it makes me think of a building that is brand new, then watching it age without care in fast forward. But this melody is not to be lost and returns several times throughout this piece, often accompanied once again by a lovely violin counter-melody.

For the most part this album does stay quite lovely and the violin is one of the stronger voices on the album (although that may just be my personal bias; I LOVE violin). We get a nice mix of the melodic and the experimental in all places. Atsushi really does a lot with his voice on this album. The fourth track, which I believe was the track I heard that lead to me buying the album on CD, has a childlike feel to it and is almost eery but also catchy. On the fifth track he sings in his regular voice, and he is in fact quite good at that as well although I do actually find I prefer his "female" voice.

These three tracks that I have mentioned are probably the best on the album but this album is a true joy from the first track until the end, and one that you will want to spin many times. This is a band that did not exist for very long before they quietly disappeared, but I cannot imagine this is because there is no audience for this music. Now, in the age of the internet and music being readily available, they should finally find that audience.

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 The End (Gradient Of Texture) by KATRA TURANA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1985
4.00 | 2 ratings

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The End (Gradient Of Texture)
Katra Turana RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars Wow, warped and whacked out as usual.

Without any suspicion this EP cannot disappoint you. Look and listen, on the first half of the first track Tsuriganemushi No Uta (Song Of A Vorticella) ... this title we cannot understand at all ... Ayumi's shaggy violin solo warps and loops around here and there, with Nobuyuki's eccentrically jazzy and swingy drums and percussion. Maybe Atsushi knocks various gwarakuta (rubbishy) percussion on the background. Atsushi's voices are of course feminine, and "her" voices can be percussive upon this song and simultaneously make this song avantly poppy - very mysteriously. Why can "her" voices season with various spices?

Next suite The End - mrn ~ aft ~ evn should be more and more symbolic of rampant avantgarde jack-in-the-boxes. Based on Oriental rhythms and tunes, Atsushi's faint (powerless?) voices goes forward into the tragic space, despite our mindspace. Suddenly "her" voices take full power back and persistently repetitive, hypnotic, tribal percussive sounds come around us ... as if a fire on a candle could burn briskly just before going away. The whacked fire continues to get stronger or weaker, and goes ahead into finish named the eternal trance by KATRA TURANA.

Atsushi's shouts at the end of KATRA TURANA I realize? Amazing but so sad.

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 Katra Turana by KATRA TURANA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.91 | 6 ratings

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Katra Turana
Katra Turana RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars (From PA blog "Japanese Progressive Rock presented by DamoX")

An amazing jack-in-the-box from Japan.

KATRA TURANA, one of avantgarde rock outfits in Japan in the 1980s, is known neither all around the world nor only in Japan. As we Japanese know, in those days almost all of anti-establishment or anti-mainstream artists should be immersed underground, and today some of them can see the light - namely, the other cannot be discharged from the underground. KATRA TURANA is one of the outfits still underground and almost unrealized on this ground. A singer, a performer, and the frontman Atsushi HIROIKE always disguised himself as a beautiful woman, performed like a crazy lady, and sang with mischievous feminine voices on stage. Surely your first listening to his voices can deceive you into realizing him as a female singer. And yep, this album itself is exactly a theatre, and lots of instruments are the casts on stage - of course, Atsushi's beautiful and weird vocal is the heroine.

In the first track Yorokobashiki Ichinichi (One day with pleasure), a plaintive violin solo and "her" graceful voices can open the theatre curtain. Well the Katra Theatre gets started. And Ensuikei Table (Conical table) is an absolutely dreamy drama! A musical chime solo is inevitably comfortable and streaming violin sounds following this are more graceful and dramatic. Atsushi's voices are mischievously cute but solemnly quiet, without any weirdness in this song. In the middle part, even warped and twisted piano and percussion cannot break the fantasia - some avantgarde spice added, though. However don't be cheated please - after this "her" aggressiveness should growl at you. All instruments including voices are avantgarde soundmakers (soundbreakers?) in Kyo No Sampo Wa Kiri Ga Nai (Today's walk is endless). "Her" voices thrown into chaos are like a part of percussion and you may not feel unnatural. At least I, cannot help feeling as though "her" voices should change "his" ones. Fuka (Hatch) is the last short song on A-side of LP - with very cute voices and a leisurely violin solo, and heavy percussion poppin' up somewhere. Exact opposite of Fuka is the B-side opening track Hontaiji Telephone Ryokitan, a dramatic and slightly sad piano solo with a tidy piccolo, a windy and spicy violin and Oriental percussion is very impressive. Ryokitan is "a bizzare tale" in English - how do you feel? Just as this atmosphere, can you feel? Atsushi's shout is exactly a cry of a goat hahaha - eerie eerie eerie he says certainly! The next Kame No Fue, Kyoryu No Fue (Pipe of tortoise, pipe of dinasour) is again a plaintive song - by flexible and take-it-easy violin sounds and pretty pipe shots, and cutie named Atsushi. From the middle the air should go weird gradually...the painful repetition of the pipe and the eerie violin scatter, with exotic percussion rubbish...they cannot get away still either. The last March is exactly the last stage of the theatre - the loudly exaggerated end of the show! There you can taste bitter-sweet left, I'm sure.

A wonderful stage you can enjoy. Sorry as I always say but splendid time is guaranteed for all!

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