Saturday, November 12, 2005

In which David hears Ten Baritone Saxophones

Earlier I wrote about hearing a snippet of a Japanese ten baritone sax group. Charles Ulrich read my comment. Being smarter than I am he was able to Google the name: Tokyo-chutei-iki. He sent me this link from Far Side Music in London. Here's another link. Thanks, Charles.

"Far Side" in this case refers to the Far East not to Gary Larson cartoons. For £9.99 they sell a "4 track mini-album" by Tokyo-chutei-iki and I ordered it. Plus shipping etc I paid $21.31 for 12 minutes of music. I'm not disappointed.

It's excellent avant, jazzy, minimalist stuff. The album proudly announces "They use only human voice and baritone saxophones." There's a picture of the ten in a flying-V formation each holding a bari and not worrying too much about what clothing they put on that morning. Judging by the recorded sound, ten live baritone saxophones could probably blow me out of my chair - and then I'd laugh.

The first track "Strength Hardness Length Angle" has a lead vocal - a cross between very fast rap and a patter song with a melodic chorus. My favorite is "Cat Fight" a lot of high harmonics alternating with unison pedal tones and repeated rhythms. The fourth track, recorded live, asks rhetorically "Can 10 bari saxes play in tune?"

Because of the speed of delivery from Far Side Music I might order another album that seems unavailable in the U.S. It's a new one by a group called Cicala Mvta (sort of a Japanese Klezmer-Bulgarian-Punk-Jazz band led by a clarinetist). I listen to their album Deko-Boko often.

Music Reviews

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