Exposé Online banner

Mani Neumeier & Okinawa Friends — Galapagos
(Groove Line GL-005, 2020, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2020-09-26

Galapagos Cover art

With Galapagos, Guru Guru drummer Mani Neumeier visits Okinawa and sits down to jam with his Okinawa Friends. The result is a loose rhythmic journey full of intriguing sounds. Neumeier provides drums and a very wide range of percussion; Kazuya Gacha Uechi and Sakamoto Kengo play bass; and guitars are handled by Halls and Ishihara Takeshi. I believe all of them play on all the tracks, as they’re credited as “right” and “left” guitar and bass. Sakamoto is a member of Koenjihyakkei, but the others are unfamiliar to me. In any case, these eight tracks mostly feature Neumeier himself, with his trademark jazzy grooves, and one of the unusual things he contributes is percussion made of coral, which has a tinkling wind-chime sound. “Sitting on the Banyan Tree” is one of the best tracks, starting with echoing guitar chords and a free-form drum part using brushes. Then one of the basses comes in with an insistent riff in three while the second guitar contributes sliding chords and the second bass plays a more melodic part in the higher register. Neumeier eventually turns his solo into a loosely-defined pattern and the other players vary their parts, eventually abandoning the original groove and moving into other territory. In addition to five substantial tracks ranging from five to ten minutes, there are a number of shorter pieces which are quite fun — off-kilter little grooves that may have actually been excerpted from a longer jam, as they fade in and out. Galapagos is an enjoyable excursion for these musicians, and while lovers of melody and harmony may be left cold, fans of Neumeier’s other work should find a lot to like here.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Mani Neumeier

Latest news

Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Phideaux - Friction – Phideaux (pronounced like "Fido") is New York singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Phideaux Xavier. His debut release, Friction, is a dense and quite impressive piece of work. Featuring something in...  (1996) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues