Exposé Online banner

Toh-Kichi — Baikamo
(Libra 202-059, 2019, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-01-26

Baikamo Cover art

Prepare yourself for one wild and crazy ride with Toh-Kichi, but the musical chemistry between pianist / composer Satoko Fujii and drummer / composer Tatsuya Yoshida is something positively unique, and here, after Erans, their last recording together (2004), the duo has officially adopted the name of their 2002 recording Toh-Kichi as the name for their duo, and hopefully more recordings will be forthcoming. Fujii and Yoshida reformed in mid-2019 at the request of a promoter for what was to be a single performance in Hiroshima; new material was composed especially for the event, and after the two decided to do a short tour and then follow that by recording the new material, which resulted in their third album together, Baikamo. Fujii and Yoshida brought four compositions each to the table, plus there are eight free improvisations as well, interleaved between each of the composed pieces, each with an unpronounceable name courtesy of Yoshida, and the disc opens with one of these sonic attacks, “Godvbadhophen,” barely over a minute in length, but the wild and chaotic energy from that minute will leave the listener gasping for breath. One of Fujii’s compositions, “Rolling Down,” follows, a powerful and urgent mix of jazz and classicism, with Yoshida adding his over-the-top drum riffing to the entire four minutes. Other highlights of the set include Yoshida’s “No Reflection,” opening with a rolling piano figure from which the drums emerge, then yield back to a memorable piano construct, the unlimited energy of the duo overflowing throughout. The title track (a Fujii composition) rolls in with over a minute of drums and percussion before piano makes its presence known, after which it dominates the remainder of the piece. The free improvisations bear curious names like “Zpajigemfluxss,” “Djofacsobhisc,” and “Hvwebshoil,” and most clock in at under or around two minutes, but the six minute “Ovgwebkwum” is the exception, rising from silence over a full minute before drum figures and later piano join the proceedings, almost sounding as if there was a degree of planning going into it. The real gem of the set comes at the very end: “Ice Age” is a Fujii composition that, after opening with a gentle piano backing, gives Fujii an opportunity to showcase her ethereal wordless vocals, a real treat after fifteen tracks of bristling freedom, energy and dissonance. Baikamo is a a powerhouse where all these great things come together, but like I said in the beginning, it’s a wild and crazy ride. Fasten your seat belts!


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Tatsuya Yoshida, Satoko Fujii, Toh-Kichi

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Il Bacio della Medusa - Il Bacio della Medusa & Giovane Amante – Il Bacio della Medusa (Medusa’s Kiss) are relative newcomers on the Italian prog scene, though like many they’ve been smitten by the sound of the early 70s. Their self-produced debut caught the...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues