Exposé Online banner

Koenjihyakkei — Dhorimvishka
(Skin Graft GR128, 2018, CD / 2LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-08-21

Dhorimvishka Cover art

Anyone who’s heard any of Koenjihyakkei’s previous work will know to expect a high-energy adaptation of Magma’s classic zeuhl sound, featuring complex rhythms, singing in an unknown language, and supremely tight arrangements. The personnel has changed a bit from their previous studio recording, Angherr Shisspa (2005), with Taku Yabuki taking over from Miyako Kanazawa on keyboards, a woman known as Ah (or AH) replacing Kyoko Yamamoto on vocals, and the addition of Kei Koganemaru on guitar. Tatstuya Yoshida (drums), Kengo Sakamoto (bass), and Keiko Komori (reeds) are still on board. As amazing as the previous albums are, I have no trouble saying that this one is the best yet. The compositions, credited to Yoshida and Yabuki jointly, are fascinating and imaginative, often built up from hypnotic keyboard patterns (usually piano) and precise drums, with sax and lead vocals executing acrobatic melodic lines that pull together elements of RIO with jazzy post-bop inflections. Dhorimvishka is a perfect example of musicians possessing superb technical skill playing music that is incredibly difficult, and while I wouldn’t say they make it sound easy, I would say that it sounds musical and expressive, not simply a technical exercise. How exactly they manage this feat I’m not sure. I’m reminded of the first time I saw a performance of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Quinteto (em forma de chôros),” where I was awestruck by the ability of the musicians to pull it off, but equally impressed by the musicality of the piece. Angherr Shisspa achieved a somewhat more open sound due to the lack of a guitar, but Koganemaru doesn’t overpower the arrangements, instead functioning as an equal participant. He even plays some acoustic in the opening half of “Palbeth Tissilaq,” which has a loping 13/8 rhythm and a lovely piano solo before bursting into a much more aggressive mood for the second half. There are no weak points, absolutely no filler, and far too many highlights to mention. Koenjihyakkei is absolutely in the top echelon of bands in any style, and the fact that they’re getting positive press outside niche publications might offer proof that (at least sometimes) sheer talent will win out over trendy fashionability. It’s simply stunning from the first notes to the last coda of the title track, and easily among the top albums of the decade. Seriously, it’s that good. A deluxe 2LP version is forthcoming which is to include an exclusive bonus track.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Koenjihyakkei, Tatsuya Yoshida

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Steve Gorn, Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta - From the Caves of the Iron Mountain – Take a woodwind player and the early 80s rhythm section for Peter Gabriel (circa Security), put them together in a cave and you'd be surprised what they come up with! The second release from King...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues