KBB — Age of Pain
(Arcangelo ARC-1162, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-09-20It’s been a while since we’ve heard something new by this Japanese instrumental quartet featuring the whiplash violin of Akihisa Tsuboy and the keyboard prowess of Toshimitsu Takahashi. There is no guitarist in the band (there is no air left in the room with those two), but the adept rhythm section of Dani (bass) and Shirou Sugano (drums) are a superb support unit in almost any style the band takes on, and this time there is certainly a lot more variation in the styles that they blend together. There’s a heaping helping of ripping jazz-rock as well as some gentler Stéphane Grappelli type moments, along with some folky and traditional touches and a dollop of classical savvy blended in across the board, sometimes all going to varying degrees at the same time. Across all of the disc’s eight tracks, the keyword here is tasty; the stylistic approach to each piece is very different and that keeps it interesting, but the result is always excellence. The slow-builder “Lythrum” is a case in point – it’s a slow pastoral tune with a very strong melody, led by violin with beautiful embellishments on piano. Follow that up with “Kernel,” a launch into a fusion of the band’s traditional influences and some mind-blowing jazz-rock that recalls Jerry Goodman in his days with Mahavishnu Orchestra mixed with a little Return to Forever circa Where Have I Known You Before. Just a couple examples. With KBB there’s always something exciting and unpredictable around the next turn.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more