P.O.N. — P.O.N.
(Double Trap CMDD 00001, 1995, CD)
by Mike Ezzo, Published 1996-03-01
Led by drummer Masahiro Uemura, P.O.N. is a sax-drums-guitar trio that adds guests on vibes, bass, and occasional violin. Guitar duties are handled by Natsuki Kido of Bondage Fruit, for this, their first effort on the CD format. Now, how to approach reviewing an album like this... Certainly the busy, explosive ramblings of this music can't be digested in a few listens. One thing is for sure: when you hear it, you'll know it was composed by a drummer. To my knowledge, only Zappa has taken odd rhythms this far in rock music. But P.O.N. couches their music in a noisy, boisterous, almost jazzy setting that is reminiscent of Dr. Nerve. Uehara's orchestrations are full of hocketing melodic fragments that jump from one instrument to another, faster than you can blink. All is not chaos, however. These works are structured. But the way the melodies are chopped up; how the groove is torn to shreds, themes tend to get left behind in a cloud of screaming sax, and pounding drums... Music that goes to the extremes, and stays there for the duration of the CD. I was worn out after two or three of these workouts. Even Kido's playing here shows little of the restraint of his own group's work. One can easily be impressed by P.O.N.'s effort, and the virtuosity of these well-seasoned pros in handling such fiercely demanding and intricately composed music. Emphasis on complex rhythm like this is almost non-existent in the West, outside of "serious" music environs. However, balance is, I believe, more important. Were Uehara and Kido to collaborate, it could perhaps add some of the melodious elements that P.O.N.'s music is lacking.
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 $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
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
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
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
Atoll - Musiciens-Magiciens, L’Araignée-Mal, Tertio & Rock Puzzle – I always thought of Atoll as being the number two French symphonic rock band in the 70s, after Ange. Like Ange, they applied the ideals and techniques of progressive rock to French culture and came up... (2005) » Read more