Aaand the day after Le Silo / Djamra / Conti's gig at Rooster North Side, I met the bassist of TSUKI-USAGITatsuya KOBAYASHI ... he was a nice guy and a great musician with strong intention for his soundscape, and at the same time a good father. We talked about lots of things e.g. music, baseball, or beverages (he cannot take any alcoholic ones sadly).
I've got TSUKI-USAGI's eponymous album from him ... thanks Tatsuya, I've enjoyed your fantastic stuff!
Tsuki-Usagi (2010) - TSUKI-USAGI
A delightful, well-balanced, dramatic rock theatre ... this rock quintet Tsuki-Usagi have showed us such a fantasy. A while before I've met the bassist Tatsuya, a nice guy and a splendid musician with strong intention for their soundscape. So sad they can gig only once or twice a year recently around Tokyo but their eternal dreams can be heard via the whole eponymous album. A bit not appropriate they be called as a keyboard-based combo (because they are added in Neo-Prog subgenre) and all instruments (especially the rhythm section) work quite excellently and get matured well. Tsunehiro's guitar crying is pretty enthusiastic and Jun's keyboard sound launcher is another killer. Rena's flute play sounds like a clear blue sky after a snowstorm, and Tatsuya / Tadashi's strict rhythm gang should construct their vision of music completely. Their composition is a tad pop and catchy for so-called progressive rock but I guess all of them produced such a dramatic, dreamy pop-ish texture with intention or something. A colourful series of sound vision, kaleidoscopic alteration of scenes can be heard especially in their masterpiece suite "Shadow In The Mirror ~ The Memory Of The Windy" ... their energetic and powerful hard edged rock organized with their technical plays and delicate, sensitive calmness created with their peace of mind on the contrary ... an awesome one indeed. On the other hand, sorry but let me say I cannot find innovative vibes via the album, and at the same time it's a great pity they cannot show such a theatrical stage so many times ... their unified instrumental acts can let us enjoy much, with a brilliant razor beam of moonlight. Not only for Neo-Prog fans but also for pop of Fantasia ones, the album should be enjoyable really. Bravo for all rabbits upon the moon!
Hi, all Japanese progressive rock fans. A happy new year from me.
Sorry for my long absence but I've come back here, with a sadness ... our eternal rock hero David BOWIE has passed away, after a long battle against cancer.
Of course, everyone says lots of rock artists also in Japan have got (and is getting, will get) much influenced by him.
He was one of the bravest of the rock brave, lemme say!
Blackstar (2016, Japanese Digi-pack Edition) - David BOWIE
Let me say that David should have exerted "British Invasion" and "British Innovation" upon people all over the world, and this album "Blackstar" should be called as a real rock one. Like everybody around me, I cannot believe his eternal travel to Heaven, with the album, such a goodbye gift. Unbelievable for me to purchase the album just before getting the sad news, too ... Upon January 11, 2016, I was in no mood to listen to this album because of his regretful passing away, but once the album was set in a CD player ...
From the beginning "Blackstar" I've got immersed in his unbelievably enthusiastic dramatic dreammare-tic rock star. Pretty dark and catastrophic but somewhat competitive and superlative ... cannot express enough for this title track. Quite superb is the vibe of time and space upon the blackstar turf. This track sounds like his verdict against the real world drenched in musical (especially rock) aridity. It might be my fancy, however, he gives me some heartwarming starshine via his magnificent rock energy and life force, with such an inorganic voice electronika. What a novelty, cannot avoid, honest to say.
"'Tis A Pity She Was A Whore" should never let us say safe and sound. Such a madness really. A mass of simply rhythmic footprints are something like a liar. Would David attempt an attack of temptation? Not lyrical but logical rock theatre. As if he would shout this MUST be the British Innovation. As well, his tough intention for the real rock, a spirit of defiance to popularity, can be heard via the following "Lazarus" featuring Donny's hard-edged wind instrument sound bombs. He's in Heaven but in danger, restricted like a king but free like a bluebird ... a colourful song like a delightful hell in a bucket.
One of the most depressive, repressive words for me "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)" ... Sue, wonder who you were ... the melody is quite innovative but suppressive (the rhythm sections' quakes and saxophone blows are remarkably vivid and realistic with multi-characteristic shots), and I'm afraid Sue might be a terrible stuff for him, I cannot say in details though. "Girl Loves Me" sounds quite insincere for me. Suggest the scape might be such an irony through his creation. A tad danceable like "Let's Dance" (maybe he would get upset, sorry) but actually the content would show his painful mindscape, I imagine?
Wonder why I feel more of pathos via "Dollar Days", that features lots of "dying" words. David dragged his fragile voices along in this song, via that I cannot help feeling sorrowful, regardless of his death itself. The last "I Can't Give Everything Away" is another pop gem for us. His transparent voice as if forced out of his lips would make us weep. His lyrics are heavy and smokey ... I guess he might raise an important musical warning for younger artists who are wandering around soundscape strategies. "Not wander but walk strictly upon the way you should walk."
Finally let me say again, David is, and will be alive in our "rock" mind forever ... never like to say I'm sad to miss him. Thanks!
Wonderfull words, Damo straight from the heart. I saw a great documentary yesterday night on a french channel. Laurent Thibault talked of the "Low" recording at Le Chateau d'Hérouville with David and Eno. Just before he used to play bass guitar on the Iggy Pop's album : "The Idiot", but was not credited on the cover. Bowie took too much drugs at that time. He was paranoiac and had accused Laurent to have talk to the Journalists about the sessions of Low that he wanted to keep secret. A few years later someone would say to Laurent that the bass lines of Joy Division were inspired by his playing on the album The Idiot.
Directly or indirectly Bowie always managed to influence somebody. He was a great source of inspiration for me. I miss him a lot.
Their 5th EP "CYCLE" has been released in October 2015. Found they had been searching for such a solution where they go, and been close to settle themselves in their hometown, namely jazz rock, finally. Cannot grab so massive marvel nor novelty via this EP but feel safe and sound under their sound-vision.
In the first track "Morpho Theseus", that looks like a song about a hero in Greek Myth, complex but gracious melody lines with down- tempo but rigidly heavy vibes can notify me of something like an agony of the hero. He's thought really strong and powerful but to be honest his inner space sounds sensitive and delicate ... such an imaginative story is told vividly by them with Raku's graceful flute flow and supressive, depressive rhythm unit footprints (not so distorted but well arranged), I imagine. Kei's drumming plays important roles in "The Old Man In The Sea", featuring repetitive phrases each of which is simple but quite colourful. These repetitions and variations remind me of some hints in Ravel's Bolero. A texture of a phrase gets harder and hotter as the song steps forward ... but at the last flute timbre gets fragile as though the old man sinks down beneath the sea. A very thoughtful one indeed. The last "Perigee" is felt as another hopeful message via their instruments. Exactly like a brilliant starshine coming over us, their play should construct a gemmy music treasure with some sound stardust. Hope I would like to say that the "hope" is born and brought up in their music box, and gets enriched over at last, very delightfully. Guess they might not inform so difficult words but give heartwarming cotton candies to the audience.
In conclusion, they've got to a place far from multidimensional rock. However, I consider it's fine also that they have found a beautiful green turf. Not a bad creation anyhow.
In C (2002) - ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE & THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O.
Needless to say, "In C" is a masterpiece created by Terry RILEY. Not familiar with minimalistic music but I've listened to his play and got amazed really. No detailed explanation for this stuff needed, and AMT's "In C" cover can be mentioned apparently as their homage to Terry. Their interpretation for "In C" might not be simplified as minimalism but be merged with confused sound jack-in-box. Guess they would treat this superb fantasy to their soundscape, namely "space rock", Hiroshi's synthesizer-based brilliance effectively featured. This dreamy parfait can be enjoyed by not only minimalism freaks but also space-rock-addicted guys. Fortunately they play this "so to speak, tough to play" song as though to grab the minimal gem perfectly out.
Therefore they have created two high regards for "In C" ... I imagine strongly, distortedly (not a criticism but an admiration) influenced by Terry, Atsushi / Yoshimitsu / Makoto might have created and launched their minimal explosion "In E", that sounds crazy, spicy, and spacey just like their previous (and following) creations. This track is so drenched with ethnic flavour by tribal instruments, maybe along with Atsushi's inspiration, enough to exert difference from Terry's C upon the texture of sound. My pleasure to find such a consideration via their sound "identity" itself. Atsushi's squid-like bass play and Yoshimitsu's sharp drumming, both of which tighten their rhythm basis, are splendid and we cannot avoid this balanced weight at all. Of course, Makoto's swift guitar impression makes a bunch of stardust here and there, and yes, Hiroshi's synthesizer drives us mad obviously. Another fantasy really.
"In D", produced by Makoto, is more and more minimalistic and Rileyistic than other creations by them, but not only minimalistic but also flickering they (especially the producer Makoto) exert upon this track. Cannot say simply but let me feel they might express something difficult around the current world (not mention in detail here though). Like transcendental meditation or tranquilizing medication, their inorganic tiny sound word absorbs us completely, and takes us away permanently ... as if with telling us something of a risky business.
This is such a great minimalistic music blended with fantastic space rock, let me say, sorry for my very brief words.
This album is currently on my smartphone. I like the way "In D" and "In E" develop. Itìs like different notes inspire different feelings, and this is enough to create two more "one chord symphonies" with totally different moods.
An Italian pop artist once said that he is used to associate colours to chords, and Eb is his favorite one.
It's a pity that he makes pop music because he's an incredible guitarist.
This album can be called as the first explosion by my friend band DJAMRA! Let me introduce, with my big pleasure!
Djamra (1999) - DJAMRA
This eponymous album, released in the beginning of 1999, is the debut album of DJAMRA, one of Japanese jazz rock prides. This album, that even Masaharu (the leader of DJAMRA) does not possess as a physical matter, has come back to life as a bandcamp album ... very happy to meet such the first storyteller of their music history.
First to say, we cannot help getting surprised at the first track "17dance", that has complicated rhythm prints (created, launched mainly by the bassist Masaharu "Wai" NAKAKITA) and offensive saxophone attacks (by Shinji KITAMURA). Such a distortion under their soundscape has been massive regardless of the poor condition upon the mixing or dubbing for this album. The following "Day Eight", featuring djembe play (anyway, they say this skin-covered drum djembe got to be the origin of the band's name DJAMRA), has a characterized by their "square" play and "lightly-tasted" bass sound (oh cannot imagine currently). Repetitive complex phrases along with their mysterious synchronicity can sound very enjoyable but never danceable obviously lol.
The latter three tracks are their current repertoires, which we Djamra freaks know enough "to sing" (just kidding). Although their play was a tad rough and fuzzy, their strong intention for doing "musical amusement different from other artists" can be heard via this whole album ... no alteration about this attitude of theirs. Of course, djembe sounds would give another taste upon their sound basis, I guess ... but their mischievous creativity must not get shifted eternally. This undeniable fact can be understood via their soundscape now and then. What a pleasure really, and wonder who keeps this strong intention!
There is no words like "cool" or "polished" for this debut shot but it's fine for us to enjoy such a crudeness too ... well done from the beginning.
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