Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Ayuo Takahashi's Rok Grouppa — Blue Eyes, Black Hair
(Belle Antique 95108, 1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01
This is a very unusual release, at least in the context of the other material Belle Antique has to offer, and another archival one as well (most of the recordings here are from the 1989 timeframe). Ayuo Takahashi's Rok Grouppa plays a spirited blend of rock, folk, and psych, or various combinations thereof – sometimes leaning in an accessible direction, other times leaning toward the more eclectic, with lots of vocals. In fact there are a couple tracks on Blue Eyes, Black Hair that are simply spoken words or narration – in Japanese of course. The lineup features one of two keyboardists, bass, drums, female and male (on some tracks) vocals, with Takahashi himself handling the guitar duties and additional vocals. Most of the material was recorded in a live setting, and the recording quality is nothing short of excellent. No characteristic style is defined here, from the four shorter tracks that open the album, to the ten-part forty-five minute title suite, to the two very short "bonus" cuts that finish the album; it can truly be said that they are all over the map. Still, where they go is interesting enough to make this release worthy of investigation, especially for the open minded listener.
Related artist(s): Ayuo Takahashi
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