Exposé Online banner

Bondage Fruit — Bondage Fruit
(Maboroshi MABO-014, 1994/2002, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, 1996-03-01:

Bondage Fruit Cover art

Bondage Fruit were formed in 1989, and have finally released their first CD. Leader Natsuki Kido is also a member of P.O.N. (and other groups unknown outside Japan). Like other bandleaders he employs studio musicians to realize his elaborate style of music: drums, bass, vibraphone, and female voices (one of which is Aki, from Koenji Hyakkei). No keyboards. The sound has more room to breathe, an airy quality that highlights bass and guitar. I'm sure Kido didn't arrive at this configuration by accident. This CD features nine long pieces, and over their course the style varies quite a bit. Kido favors a sturdy rhythmic backdrop over which he builds expansive melodic patterns, and complex harmonies. In a way similar to the Canterbury ethos, things become looser once the themes have been run through. I also sense a rather heavy tinge of a Magma influence but without their repetition or relentlessness. Elsewhere they lighten the mood with some sensitive violin solos, virtuosic vibe playing, even nice brush work from the drummer to spice it up. The soaring vocal lines over a solid rhythm foundation keep this from ever tipping the scales toward the jazz end. And noisy tendencies are restricted to just one track. One problem encountered by projects like this is a lack of cohesion from one piece to the next. Kido covers a lot of ground here, thus, I hope on his next outing he will hone in on a more consistent approach. All in all this is fine-spirited music, which, shorn of some of its excessive soling, could really appeal to many people looking for something richer than the usual fare.


by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:

Having first heard about this band in the fading weeks of 1994 via a bootleg tape of one of their live shows, I was, needless to say, duly impressed, and spent most of '95 looking for a copy of this CD, which was released quietly in the early months of last year on a private Japanese label. There must be something in the water in Japan that consistently turns out creative musicians of such high caliber. Bondage Fruit are no exception. A seven-piece of violin, guitar, bass, drums, vibes+marimba+glockenspiel, and two vocalists, their music seems to draw primary influence from the avant, ethnic and zeuhl quarters, yet those influences are well absorbed and the result is something totally original. Their sound is quite aggressive at times, like on the totally over-the-top "Octopus Command," where guitar, violin, vibes, and voices kick off in a frenzied passion — like Eskaton with an attitude — only to give way to a soothing fretless bass solo. The band alternates between these types of hard driving sonic assaults and a more refined middle-eastern ethnic style as evidenced on "Hikou Suru Ko" or "Kodomo No Torokko," which might even recall hints of bands like Aktuala, Popol Vuh, or Embryo, yet Bondage Fruit take it all a couple notches higher on the energy scale. Throughout the album, the vocals are used as instruments rather than a vehicle for lyrics, like other bands might use a wind or horn section. All this over a very powerful and often-complex rhythmic base. Overall, given the high level of originality and musicianship, this is certainly one of the most spirited releases of last year, recommended to all but the least adventurous.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 9 , 2002 releases, 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Yuji Katsui, Natsuki Kido, Bondage Fruit

More info

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

FM - Retroactive: FM Archives Volume 1 – This Canadian trio is probably best known for their three late-70s LPs Black Noise, Headroom, and Surveillance (the first of which saw CD reissue a couple years ago) — sci-fi powered progressive...  (1996) » Read more

Gnomus - II – This is the second release of spontaneous compositions from this Finnish trio. Drums, keyboards and guitar wander into the outer reaches of deep space for improvisations that never really approach...  (2005) » Read more

Peter Hammill - Singularity – Peter Hammill’s hardened stare adorns the cover of the songwriter’s current recording from his home studio in Wilts, UK. If fans needed any reminder, the singer’s stance has always included...  (2008) » Read more

Pink Anvil - Halloween Party – Pink Anvil is a duo of Paul Barker and Max Brody of Ministry. Barker is credited with FM radio and patchbay operation while Brody works a delay and some footswitches. Halloween Party was recorded live...  (2003) » Read more

Nevärlläjf - Klusterfloristen – Nevärlläjf is a young Swedish quintet of synths, guitars, bass, and drums. By young, I mean that these guys were in high school in 2005. Yet their music belies their age with its...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues