Exposé Online banner

Koenjihyakkei — Angherr Shisspa
(Skin Graft GR 78CD, 2005, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01

Angherr Shisspa Cover art

It’s been amusing to read the attempts of reviewers in the alternative / independent press to write about this album. They find the music so strange that they have difficulty describing it, even though some of them seem to like it. The crushing rhythms, dramatic vocals in an unknown language, the combination of Wagnerian bombast with jazzy inflections and rock instrumentation – in short, the Klingon Opera of rock – have no reference point for them. Of course, anyone who’s familiar with Magma’s classic recordings would have no such difficulty, as Koenjihyakkei fits squarely in the zeuhl tradition. All we have to do is describe the ways in which Koenji differs (or doesn’t) from Magma, and we’ve got the picture. We can also compare to earlier Koenji albums, so I went back to their debut for a little perspective. One important difference is that there is no longer any guitar in the band: drummer Tatsuya Yoshida is now teamed up with bass, keyboards, reeds (soprano sax and clarinet), and a dedicated singer, with everyone else singing as well. The lack of guitar, combined with the saxophones and the three female vocalists, gives the band a somewhat less oppressive sound, though it’s still pretty dense stuff. Miyako Kanazawa (keys) and Keiko Komori (reeds) are both extraordinary players, and really add to the proceedings, changing roles as the arrangements dictate. The lyrics are helpfully printed in the booklet, so you can all chant along with “Villba Quaranggi Irundoh Sillzza” to your heart’s content.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Koenjihyakkei, Tatsuya Yoshida

Latest news

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

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Cast - Legacy – For their ninth studio album, Cast present another strong set of tunes in their established mode. While there are strong contributions from all members, the keyboards of Alfonso Vidales are clearly...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues