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Time Strings Travellers: Still Songs

AAJ Staff By

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Imagine Magma or Happy Family slowing things down a few notches to play Japanese-folk songs, an electrified fusion of world, ethnic-rock. Confused enough now? Well these are fine musicians but very eccentric in their composing! Instruments include drums, bass Kwengarri, percussion, guitar, synths, organ, sax, and vox on one track. The bass work is Jannik Top on “Ruby~Celebration”.

On “Storyteller with New Vibration” I heard Material and RIO but all done over some traditional Japanese music structures. The sax was predominant but mean guitars also emerged. An extended trancerock, sitarlike(Kwengarri?)-drone added an Indian feel. Pass the water-pipe. This band spaces out and jams in a Zeuhlian/lounge jazz fashion. On “part II [Eternal Song]” there is a bevy of avant-garde/RIO/free jazz as the extended intro. It eventually resolves into more Zeuhlian-traditional psyche-fusion.

“Moments of Suspence”, [sic], was more of a jazz fusion/free jazz piece. Plenty of raucous sax and guitar offered. The bass work is Magmaoid-surging and relentless. Fans of Kazumi Watanabe might enjoy this. “Evening Wind” is Pekka Pohjola or Passport mellow keys and sax-driven jazz. “Discover Rhythm~Our March” intros a long percussive meander with bass burps, ivory tinkling, distant sax swoons, in a barely structured amble of free jazz noodlings. As before things eventually build to a monster-sized explosion of Japanese-sounding folk-rock. Synths and bass pump it all to max overdrive. Fuzzed guitar wails away the final minutes.

“[Kashin]” is radio-ready jazzy rock with Japanese vox, this tune seemingly inserted to get Top-40 rotation in Japan. Not too interesting. We outro with “[Ruby]” a reprise of track one with a spacey synth and bass interplay. Occasional percussives make me think Kitaro. A near-ambient dirge to end this very wild ride. Whew.


Reprinted with the permission of John Collinge and Progression Magazine .


Title: Still Songs | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Chitei Records


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