Exposé Online banner

KBB — Age of Pain
(Arcangelo ARC-1162, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-09-20

Age of Pain Cover artIt’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.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): KBB, Tsuboy Akihisa

Latest news

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

John Cale - Words for the Dying – I have to admit an orchestral setting for a set of Dylan Thomas poems reminded me of many of the criticisms for many a 70s progressive rock concept album. John Cale's arrangement of this collection of...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues