Exposé Online banner

Bondage Fruit — Bondage Fruit
(Maboroshi MABO-014, 1994/2002, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:

Bondage Fruit Cover art

Having first heard about this band in the fading weeks of 1994 via a bootleg tape of one of their live shows, I was, needless to say, duly impressed, and spent most of '95 looking for a copy of this CD, which was released quietly in the early months of last year on a private Japanese label. There must be something in the water in Japan that consistently turns out creative musicians of such high caliber. Bondage Fruit are no exception. A seven-piece of violin, guitar, bass, drums, vibes+marimba+glockenspiel, and two vocalists, their music seems to draw primary influence from the avant, ethnic and zeuhl quarters, yet those influences are well absorbed and the result is something totally original. Their sound is quite aggressive at times, like on the totally over-the-top "Octopus Command," where guitar, violin, vibes, and voices kick off in a frenzied passion — like Eskaton with an attitude — only to give way to a soothing fretless bass solo. The band alternates between these types of hard driving sonic assaults and a more refined middle-eastern ethnic style as evidenced on "Hikou Suru Ko" or "Kodomo No Torokko," which might even recall hints of bands like Aktuala, Popol Vuh, or Embryo, yet Bondage Fruit take it all a couple notches higher on the energy scale. Throughout the album, the vocals are used as instruments rather than a vehicle for lyrics, like other bands might use a wind or horn section. All this over a very powerful and often-complex rhythmic base. Overall, given the high level of originality and musicianship, this is certainly one of the most spirited releases of last year, recommended to all but the least adventurous.


by Mike Ezzo, 1996-03-01:

Bondage Fruit were formed in 1989, and have finally released their first CD. Leader Natsuki Kido is also a member of P.O.N. (and other groups unknown outside Japan). Like other bandleaders he employs studio musicians to realize his elaborate style of music: drums, bass, vibraphone, and female voices (one of which is Aki, from Koenji Hyakkei). No keyboards. The sound has more room to breathe, an airy quality that highlights bass and guitar. I'm sure Kido didn't arrive at this configuration by accident. This CD features nine long pieces, and over their course the style varies quite a bit. Kido favors a sturdy rhythmic backdrop over which he builds expansive melodic patterns, and complex harmonies. In a way similar to the Canterbury ethos, things become looser once the themes have been run through. I also sense a rather heavy tinge of a Magma influence but without their repetition or relentlessness. Elsewhere they lighten the mood with some sensitive violin solos, virtuosic vibe playing, even nice brush work from the drummer to spice it up. The soaring vocal lines over a solid rhythm foundation keep this from ever tipping the scales toward the jazz end. And noisy tendencies are restricted to just one track. One problem encountered by projects like this is a lack of cohesion from one piece to the next. Kido covers a lot of ground here, thus, I hope on his next outing he will hone in on a more consistent approach. All in all this is fine-spirited music, which, shorn of some of its excessive soling, could really appeal to many people looking for something richer than the usual fare.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 9 , 2002 releases, 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Yuji Katsui, Natsuki Kido, Bondage Fruit

More info

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ivanhoe - Polarized – Can't get enough of that Iron Maiden? Check out Polarized. There is no doubt, as musicians, Ivanhoe are first rate. The singer, Andy B. Frank is very good, if he's a German singing in English,...  (1999) » Read more

Episode - Starlight Tales – I've been listening to Episode for quite a while and patiently awaiting this disc. They live in the Bay Area, so I see them around at shows, and have been asking them for the last year and a half...  (1994) » Read more

Lady Lake - Unearthed – By one scheme of reckoning, rarities collections come three categories: those that are only of interest to established fans of the artist, those that can serve as an introduction to a newbie, and...  (2008) » Read more

Kansas - Freaks of Nature – Their first studio album in seven years, Freaks of Nature marks the return of Kansas. Well, actually they haven't been gone. Even though this marks the first studio release for the current lineup,...  (1995) » Read more

Brunnen - Swoon – <crickets> — that’s either the typical response to the question “Any Brunnen fans in the audience?” or an accurate description of the third track on this CD. Brunnen is...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues