Exposé Online banner

Geinoh Yamashirogumi — Osorezan / Doh No Kembai
(Invitation VICL-23084, 1976/1994, CD)

by Dean Suzuki, Published 1999-11-01

Osorezan / Doh No Kembai Cover art

Geinoh Yamashirogumi, also known as the Yamashiro Group, is a Japanese choral group made up of amateur musicians who are a remarkable ensemble and perform the distinctive, compelling, and fantastic music composed by the director and founder of the ensemble, Shouji Yamashiro. No Handel choruses or Negro gospel songs here — Geinoh Yamashirogumi is utterly unique and quite fantastic. Originally, they performed various types of world music, including Bulgarian women’s choral music, which has been popularized by the Le Mystere de Voix Bulgare series of recordings. They have also performed Indonesian, Japanese, and African musics, among others. But where they set themselves apart are in Yamashiro’s compositions. Clearly inspired by non-Western cultures, they range from the exotic to the otherworldly. “Osorezan” is a brilliant 20-minute opus that amounts to a progressive suite that is on the order of a “Close to the Edge” or “Tarkus,” but in a style all its own. It begins with a blood-curdling scream by one of the women in the group followed by some monumental sounding drums. The piece then builds slowly with an instrumental prelude that gives way to bizarre vocalizations, including whispers, sighs, oscillating vocal glissandi, moans, and shrieks, and a traditional Japanese style female vocal solo. Fleshed out by a rock ensemble, there are extensive passages for solo guitar, with a decidedly psychedelic flair and style, broad swaths of Mellotron-like synthesizer tones. The piece has a frenzied climax with its chanting, hollering and screaming chorus and frenetic, chaotic percussion and drumming followed by a long, droning serene postlude for female voices and delicate percussive punctuations. “Dounokenbai” is an equally unique and inventive work, combining the sounds and style of traditional Japanese music and Indonesian music, including the famous kejak or monkey chant. While in no way is it progressive rock, it is undeniably progressive music that is quite marvelous. Though difficult to find, the adventurous listener with ears wide open will find this to be a musical sojourn that is enormously satisfying


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 18, 1994 releases, 1976 recordings

Related artist(s): Geinoh Yamashirogumi

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tabula Rasa - Ekkedien Tanssi – Ekkedien Tanssi was the second album by this Finnish five-piece who created a type of mellow, melodic prog not unlike the music of Camel. Indeed, this album is comparable in both style and quality to...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues