Monday, 1 February 2016


"Soup live"
Year:    2004
Country:    US , Japan
Label:    P-Vine
Format:    2 x CD
Tracks:    8
Genre:    rock
Style:            Free Jazz            Noise Rock

Recorded live at Shinjuku Pit Inn, Tokyo, Dec. 14 and 15, 2003 and released firstly by japanese label "P-Vine Records" as a double CD and later in 2007 by "Ion Records". Excellent "Soup Live" is a double live album (extending over two hours) of performances by the trio of Otomo Yoshihide (guitar), Bill Laswell (bass) and Toshigaki Yasuhiro (drums, trumpet) with guests captured in December of 2003 in Tokyo. This is the same trio that recorded the superb studio album "Soup" and is similar to the studio album-- essentially the album consists of seven extended jams (the shrotest around ten minutes, the longest over twenty) with the trio exploring their many musical styles and sounds-- jazz, rock, dub, techno, noise, free improv... it all comes floating in and out of the performances here at one time or another. I am reminded when listening to this of David Torn's description of his music as "ambient with an attitude", but perhaps a notion of "angry ambient" is a bit more appropriate-- the trio performs frantic energy improvs that feel deeply rooted in the work of Brian Eno but manage to capture intensity like the most frantic of power trio improv. With the addition of a lead voice on some tracks (Naruyoshi Kikuchi on tenor sax and organ, Yuji Katsui on electric violin and Akira Sakata on alto sax), there seems to be more of an opportunity, remarkably, for the trio to interact, with Otomo joining Laswell and Toshigaki in setting up grooves and rhythms for the lead players to work on. Of particular note is "Eel", the closing track on the first disc-- Naruyoshi's tenor comes in delicately at first, playing long tones and simple melodic statements over a minimalist bassline from Laswell but there's an underlying tension that comes loose with Naruyoshi exploring the altissimo register of the horn. After several minutes of this, suddenly a fantastic groove is established by the trio, with Otomo joining in to provide a platform over which Naruyoshi digs deep. Towards the end of the piece (and not for the first or last time on the record), Otomo seems to evoke the ghost of Sonny Sharrock, pulling forth statements, themes and ideas like only Sharrock seemed to manage. And really, the whole thing is like this-- over two hours of ambient with an attitude, of explosive improvisation and powerful performances. Odds are if you're looking at this, you'll love it. It's just as fantastic as the studio record, and both are highly recommended (*NOTE = this review was written by Michael Stack).
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"Somnific flux"
Year:    1995
Country:    US , UK
Label:    Sentrax
Format:    CD
Tracks:    2
Time:    60 min.
Genre:    electronic
Style:              Ambient

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