Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Kurushimi Chaos Remains album cover
4.44 | 5 ratings | 2 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Write a review

from partners
Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Omen (2:38)
2. Black (3:02)
3. Relentless Beating (0:18)
4. The Mysteries of Chaos (8:26)
5. Chaos Dub (2:40)
6. Ambulance Run (1:54)
7. Choke (0:44)
8. Funeral Moon (2:45)
9. Necrosis (1:28)
10. Wormhole (5:35)

Total Time 29:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Andrew Mortensen / bass, turntable, keyboard, samples
- Chris Allison / drums
- Simon Dawes / guitar
- Kim Lawson / alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
- Ian Pieterse / baritone saxophone, alto saxophone

- Nick Soole / vocals, synthesizers, Fx (7,8)
- Michael Taverner / guitar, feedback (3,6,7,8,9)

Releases information

Digital Art As Catharsis / AM Frequencies (2021)

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the addition
Edit this entry

Buy KURUSHIMI Chaos Remains Music

KURUSHIMI Chaos Remains ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(60%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KURUSHIMI Chaos Remains reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Kurushimi (from Australia) is one of those bands I stumbled across by complete accident, but what a happy accident it was. While searching the internet for some possible progressive metal bands that I could send through our team, I ran across the new album called "Chaos Remains" from Kurushimi. I was drawn into the music right away as it was right up my alley, noisy and very original and a band willing to expand and explore the art of music.

The album was tagged as progressive metal, and listening to this album, I can hear the PM influence there, but there was also something else, a jazzcore style that seemed to be the actual driving force behind the music. Once I listened to a few of their other albums, I was convinced that it needed to be reviewed by the RIO/Avant Prog team as with the noisy free jazz style seemed to permeate the other albums, it seemed to me to be more like the music of Kayo Dot and John Zorn. Of course, the team agreed and this band was inducted into PA.

The music is completely improvisational along the same lines as the styles used by John Zorn and Frank Zappa. It is all directed with hand signals that allow the musicians to freely express themselves within certain boundaries, and the conductor (Simeon Bartholomew) uses hand signals to direct the musicians to flow from one style to another or adjust the style accordingly. The music is created by keyboards, turntables, samples, tenor, alto and baritone saxes, guitar, bass and drums.

As the title to this album suggests, this one is a study of the fusion of jazz with metal, so it takes the band's style to another level. The tracks on this album are further explorations and manipulations of unused tracks from the sessions of their previous album released in 2018, "What is Chaos?", so this EP is sort of a companion album to that one. The music on the 2018 album is more of a free jazz style, where on this album, the outtakes are further developed so that, according to the band, "The resulting music is harsh, wild and unexpected ? throwing jazz and avant-garde improvisational compositions together with the grind and thud of metal-driven riffs". That describes it quite well. This is accomplished by adding a few more guest musicians who provide additional vocals, synths, effects, heavier guitar and the experimental use of feedback.

Many people first listening to this EP will understand where the "experimental metal" tag comes from for this particular album. But the heaviness is a result of many growling saxes, solid bass and guitar and crazy noise. Turntable loops were created in some very imaginative ways, including putting a sticker on the record so that it would skip and loop and then inviting the conductor and the band to improvise over the top of it all.

The hand signals are based on a musical game piece (similar to the games used by Zorn and Zappa) called "Violence in Action" created by Lachlan Kerr. The music is loud but also becomes quite hypnotic at times as in the beginning of "The Mysteries of Chaos", the epic masterpiece and centerpiece of the EP. Multiple saxes meander around while sinister effects, percussion and etc. give more of an evil ambience that has a sense of wild beauty to it. This track works in contrast to the heavy and noisy music produced in the other tracks. The opener "The Omen" will give you an immediate example of this. You will soon understand why this music is hard to describe, because there is definitely a lot more to this than just "noise", its dark, heavy, sludgy and brooding. The track is inspired by the movie of the same name, in fact, Andrew Mortensen (bass) explains that he chopped up pieces of the movie score and made it into a creepy loop which the musicians improvised around. The fact that the foundation of the tracks is based around turntable looping gives it all a sense of organization, not just random squeals and squeaks, and the fact that a conductor keeps the music in some sense of boundaries, things just don't fly off in a hundred different directions. In fact, with some of the riffs and passages that suddenly come out of the improvised music are quite surprising.

"Chaos Dub" is stuck in the middle of this EP and it helps you understand the way this whole thing is created. A more "normal" beat starts it all off, but as it goes along, the saxes, guitars and effects are all layered in until it becomes all slippery and slidey. Most of the tracks on this EP are quite short, as there are ten tracks and the duration is just under 30 minutes, but those shorter tracks can definitely pack a wallop of music and sound. Just wait until you experience the multiple layers that make up "Funeral Moon" or the highly dramatic "Ambulance Run". But also be prepared to face the sinister, dark sounds of "Black" and "Necrosis", all of these fairly short, yet still quite interesting tracks.

There are 2 longer tracks here also including the already mentioned "The Mysteries of Chaos" which is over 8 minutes, and the whacky and unpredictable "Wormhole" which manages to throw out one surprise after another in over 5 minutes of jazz metal bliss.

I know that this music isn't for everyone, but for me, I absolutely love it. There have been many bands out there lately that have used metal to experiment and explore by adding different styles (like jazz) to it. However, Kurushimi takes the opposite route with this amazing album by using free jazz as the foundation and pushing it into the experimental metal category. The band promises more surprises this year with "upcoming releases which are said to include 2 EPs of "unexpected" material and a full length album bearing new arrangements", so I will be keeping an eye and an ear out for that, but as for now, this is the first album I've heard that's new in 2021 that will be a contender for the top 20 of the year. For now, anyone willing to explore their music, including this album, should be ready for it to leave quite an impression one way or another.

Review by nick_h_nz
COLLABORATOR Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

I came to Australian band Kurushimi via label-mates, Instrumental (adj.) and their rather wonderful EP A Series of Disagreements which sounded just like that - a series of disagreements. Simon Dawes (guitar) and Chris Allison (drums) are members of both Instrumental (adj.) and Kurushimi. So given how much I enjoyed the music of the former, it seemed a dead cert I should like the music of the latter too. Unsurprisingly, this was the case. But while both bands play a noisy free jazz style, Instrumental (adj.) blends this with math rock, while Kurushimi take it far into the avant realms. As such, I found Kurushimi a little less accessible initially, but ultimately more satisfying.

Yet somehow, it seems I failed to keep up with Kurushimi. I have their eponymous album and Shōtotsu EP, both from 2016, but nothing released subsequently. Upon receiving Chaos Remains for review, I checked out their Bandcamp page, and it would appear I have missed three releases, the last of which is titled What is Chaos?, so perhaps this year's album is a sequel or an answer to that, or maybe it is simply the remains from Chaos explored in a new way? Listening to the two albums together, there are definite similarities, and I can't help comparing these two albums to Radiohead's Kid A and Amnesiac. In no sense should the second album be considered lesser, and in both cases, I seem to have a preference for the second album of the pairings. Regardless of how Chaos Remains fits in relationship to its predecessor, 'chaos' is quite possibly how Kurushimi might sound to the initiated - an almost impenetrable wall of sound. Yet, to continue with the Radiohead theme, once I'm attuned to the sound then I find everything in its right place.

Perhaps the order in chaos comes from the conducting of Simeon Bartholomew, whom I know from SEIMS. Here Simeon is not playing, but conducting the improvisation of the Kurushimi musicians. Though it's probably not an original idea, it is certainly the first time I've ever come across it. As aforementioned, there are definitely similarities to the previous What is Chaos?, and upon further reading on Bandcamp as I listen, these have been "built up from tracks recorded during the sessions for their previous album", and it would appear Simeon took on the role of conductor for that album too. Without having heard the releases in between, it would seem to me that Simeon as conductor has given a structure to the improvisations that were not apparent on the album and EP I own. Despite still being grinding, noise-filled, dissonant, metal-edged avant free jazz, the two Chaos albums are considerably more approachable and enjoyable, arresting and engaging, from the very first listen. There's still a sense of improvisational anarchy, but it's more restrained. (Band leader Andre Mortensen shared conducting duties with Lachlan Kerr for the releases I own, so hopefully he doesn't take offence in the implications of the conclusion I've drawn here.)

Of course, while a different conductor is always going to bring out differences in the musicians, another reason for the greater sense of structure is that Andrew has created cut-ups of movie scores (hence the title of opening number, The Omen) and looped them. Thus, while the music is still 100 per cent improvised, the combination of a foundation of loops to improvise upon, and Simeon as conductor, if not exactly creating organisation out of chaos, nor necessarily any sense of direction, does create boundaries of a sort. That doesn't mean the music has no surprising turns or jump scares - they are simply more contained. Even within their relatively short lengths, the tracks contain a great deal of drama and tension, and every bit of the ugliness and malevolence Mortensen was looking for. He wanted something evil, and I'm not sure I'd go that far - but it is definitely menacing, sinister and foreboding.

If you put Brian Eno, Toby Driver, Robert Fripp, Ornette Coleman, Mats Gustafsson and John Zorn into a blender, you might just come up with something close to Kurushimi. It's warped, but wonderfully so. One of my favourite moments comes when the chaos suddenly takes on a dub tone. As I hadn't been paying attention to the track titles, I was unaware this was actually titled Chaos Dub, which drew a wry smile from me. You can't say the band aren't being upfront with what they're playing. Of course, like almost everything else on this album, its stay is short. In fact, the brevity and brutality of most of the tracks makes it easy to make a comparison with grindcore, which the band acknowledge when they describe themselves as "a violent instrumental assault of grindcore, free jazz, noise rock and everything in-between." These bite-sized slices of violent instrumentals are absolutely delicious, and very more-ish. Almost addictive, in fact, as I seem to keep coming back to this album, over and over again.

Given I've not (yet) listened to every Kurushimi release, I can't say it is their best thus far - but I can say, without any hesitation or doubt, that it is the best I've heard. It's still improvised, it's still pretty loose, it still has aggressive moments, but it sounds more upbeat. On the face of it Chaos Remains sounds like a bunch of musicians coming together from their main gigs (and in a way, they are almost a sort of supergroup of the Sydney underground scene) and simply having fun. Without meaning to demean their musical creations, they all show up and then improvise within some basic parameters, to churn out an album. But while it might not be so methodical, structured or conceptualised as the other bands the Kurushimi musicians play for, Chaos Remains was clearly a lot of fun to make ? and that makes it a lot of fun to listen to.

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of KURUSHIMI "Chaos Remains"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.