Eric Lumbleau 03-November-2001 Viva Koenji!

I'm probably going out on a limb here, but from my vantage point, this is not only the most brilliant of all of the contemporary Japanese bands, but perhaps the greatest group currently operating in the world. In fact, I imagine anyone appreciating fast, bizarre and intricate music from fans of Mr. Bungle to even, say Primus, would fall all over themselves if they were exposed to this.

Masterminded by human dynamo Tatsuya Yoshida, drummer and vocalist extrordinaire of Ruins and at least ten other groups at any given moment, this is the logical culmination of years spent elaborating on various aspects of zeuhl music, a remarkable French music tradition developed in the wake of the legendary Magma employing equal parts Orff-ian choral bombast, fusion jazz dexterity and the overcharged emotionalism of gospel.

Whether interpreting zeuhl as hardcore in Ruins, zeuhl as muppet music in Tairikuotoko vs. Sanmyakuonna or as a solo zeuhl one man band, Yoshida has been honing his chops for years building up to the levels of unsurpassed genius demonstrated on this and the last Koenjihyakkei CD. Here on their second CD, they storm the fortress of this esoteric and venerable genre like a boatload of mad Japanese Vikings. Their relentless and blitheringly mad Dada amphetamine cartoon refraction of zeuhl through an almost imperial sounding lens is as utterly baffling as it is completely exhilarating.Wildly elaborate vocal patterns and chants in their own invented language (an homage to Magma's Kobaian dialect) churn, intertwine and somersault in and around almost every note here. As this progresses, and the energy levels soar higher and higher, this passes from the brilliant into the realm of the truly sublime. This is superhero music of the future.

(Originally published in Alternative Press #113, p.79; reprinted by permission)

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