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

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Legendary Pink Dots - Your Children Placate You from Premature Graves – Your Children Placate You from Premature Graves is a Dots album released in honor of their 25th anniversary. Over 25 years the band has gone through a number of changes and today the Dots are Niels...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues