Exposé Online banner

Hiromi — Spiral
(Telarc CD-83631, 2005, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01

Spiral Cover artFor her previous two releases, Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara has started off with a bang, throwing a full-throttle band workout at listeners for the first track (“XYZ” on Another Mind and “Kung-Fu World Champion” on Brain). This time out, she slips into the set more gently, with the title track, which is so quiet for the first minute you can hardly tell it’s started. But she builds into a lovely circular theme that suits the title impeccably, and eventually works into one of her favored tricks: an insistent, busy bass part in her left hand topped by sparse chords, this time with a melodic bass solo. The centerpiece of the album in a four-part suite called “Music for Three-Piece Orchestra.” It too starts in a meditative mood, then moves into an amusing section called “Tuning” where the bass and piano are intentionally in different keys, and gradually get in synch. Part four (“Edge”) is particularly impressive, with a complex meter riff that would have done Mahavishnu proud backing a deceptively free-sounding drum solo. For the first time, she spends the entire album with her touring trio of Tony Grey on electric bass and drummer Martin Valihora, who follow her bizarre twists and turns effortlessly. Grey in particular proves himself to be a master of fluid flurries of notes, all in service of the compositions. The set finishes off with a funky synthesizer workout called “Return of Kung-Fu World Champion” that changes tempos more times than Bruce Lee said “Hyah!”

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Hiromi Uehara

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Shingetsu - Live – I haven’t heard Shingetsu’s studio album, so this concert recording is my introduction to their music, and it’s quite a surprise. And like many surprises, it has both good and bad...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues