This odd little disc seemed a natural to explore right after writing up
the David Grisman Tone Poets set. What we have here are two
Japanese kids in their early 20s who play a sort of Japanese version of
the banjo – a three-foot-tall instrument with only three strings. But
instead of playing the usual folk music or Japanese classical music,
they are venturing out into everything nontraditional, and with great
gusto. They even adopt the appearance and performance choreography of
The accompaniments to these demons of the shamisen don’t sound entirely
acoustic, but they are after all just background for the spiky and
percussive sounds of the two stringed instruments. The range of
styles is dizzying – Indigo sounds like old fashioned big band, Kagero
is sort of Latin-Japanese, and others sound like rock instrumentals.
One or two of the dozen tracks stress the bluesy sound of the
instrument. Perfect music for the intermission of your next
samurai movie DVD double feature!
Tracks: Frontier, Gales of Wind, Mirage, Lullaby of Takeda, Kodo,
Indigo, Kagero, Evening Calm, Niata, old/New “Modern” Third Movement,
Arigato, Kodo – Inside the Sun Remix.
– John Henry