Koenjihyakkei — Hundred Sights of Koenji
(Skin Graft GR90CD, 1994/2004, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-07-01
The latest entry from the ever-growing Japanese zeuhl scene is Koenji Hyakkei, a four piece of guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, with male and female voice. Their sound lies firmly along the Magma-punk-noise axis; in fact on the first couple tracks "Ioss" and "Doi Doi," they've pretty much co-opted Magma's sound circa Üdü Ẁüdü. It should be no surprise then, that the drummer and main-mover in the band is none other than Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins fame... As if Yoshida doesn't already have enough projects going on with Ruins, solo albums, and his Magma cover band "Mekanik Kommandoh." Those first two tracks are certainly good, even employing a mysterious tongue (not Kobaïan, but similar), but they seem to be missing some of the spiritual aspects of Magma's sound, and hearing them only makes me want to go and listen to the real thing. Fortunately, after the second track they find their own identity, mostly a punky, Magma influenced hard-edged sound that cuts deep, yet still contains enough stylistic variety to remain interesting. On two cuts in particular, "Molavena" and "Zoltan" — both penned by keyboardist/vocalist Aki — they tone it down quite a bit, allowing her room to show another side of her vocal talents, and also breaking up the otherwise monolithic feel of the album. On "Avedumma," guitarist Ryuchi Masuda shows his allegiance to Fripp. In all, this is an extremely good album, albeit a little harsh in places. Fans of Magma, Crimson, and of course Ruins, will find much here to appreciate.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more