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Kangaroo Note - Soundness
CD-R



-electric configuration
-acoustic configuration
-twelve notes 1
-twelve notes 2
-addition
-fuss around contrabass (pt.1)
-fuss around contrabass (pt.2)
-fuss around saxophone (pt.1)
-fuss around saxophone (pt.2)
-a definate integral of automony
-electric configuration again
-twelve notes (ando/kimura)




Kangaroo Note: Aso Takashi, Ando Kunihiro, Kimura Masaya
Recorded 5-30-1998

Reviews:
(Blastitude no.8) The Public Eyesore label just keeps getting more and more ambitious. Based in Decorah, Iowa, on initial glance the label seems like some sort of Minneapolis-region harsh noise kind of thing…the label name, for example, would reflect that....…but upon closer inspection, it's clear that CEO Bryan Day is on a whole different level. Like this release, for example, a recording of an improvisational trio from Sapporo, Japan that plays sax, stand-up bass, and electronics. The whole thing could easily be released on some sort of 'art music' imprint…it reminds me not a little of the Nachtluft CD that just got reissued as part of Atavistic's "Unheard Music" series. The difference is the tenor sax and stand-up bass, which give Kangaroo Note more of a 'trad' jazz sound. While several tracks (notably the first one) offer way-out rumbling and blasting in a very impressive style from the get-go, here and there the disc slows down just a little with either the saxist or bassist taking a ballad/blues approach against which the other players juxtapose more avant sounds, most notably the edgy electronics by Aso Takashi. I prefer the purely out stuff, but the trio interplay is very good throughout, and just the fact that this disc exists is impressive…Sapporo, Japan? I've gotta reiterate the question that Dead Angel e-zine asked: "Where does Bryan find this stuff?" - Matt Silcock

(Aural Innovations no. 23) Kangaroo Note is a Japanese free-improv trio consisting of Aso Takashi on electronics, Ando Kunihiro on contrabass, and Kimua Masaya on saxophone and breath controlled synthesizer (whatever that is). The music is based in free-jazz though the electronics put a spin on things that places it in a different and rather fascinating realm. The set opens with a couple tracks that brought to mind a whimsical drone carnival. But with "Twelve Notes 1 & 2" we're getting into free-improv jazz territory. Masaya plays an accessible saxophone style accompanied by pounding contrabass notes and steady electronic tones. Kunihiro plays his bass using both attack and bowed techniques and blends and intersperses these styles to interesting effect. The music is slow paced but the bass and sax go together well and the electronics provide a strange but enjoyable contrast. But the musicians really come together starting with "Addition", on which each really takes front and center stage, their individual contributions making personal statements but ultimately blending very nicely. On "Fuss Around Contrabass" parts 1-2 and "Fuss Around Saxophone" parts 1-2, Kunihiro and Masaya offer some of their most expressive playing of the set on contrabass and sax respectively, as Takashi adds frantic sci fi electronics that seem to cross Forbidden Planet with Sun Ra's Concert For Comet Kahoutek. And I'm not sure what the breath controlled synthesizer that Masaya is credited with is, but I suspect he's responsible for much of this banquet of sounds gone wild. The other highlight track is "A Definate Integral Of Autonomy", which is a total kick ass free-jazz jam backed by walls of drone and assorted other strange sounds. I'm reminded somewhat of W.O.O. Revelator but with stand-up bass instead of guitar. In summary, there's LOTS happening here that will appeal to fans of free-jazz and freeform avant-garde music in general. The real treat is the contrasting contributions among the musicians that gel so well. Attentive listeners will be rewarded with new discoveries upon each new spin of this delightful disc. - Jerry Kranitz

(Dead Angel no.46) Strange sounds abound on this release, one of the newer ones spewed out by the increasingly prolific label (where does Bryan find all these people?) devoted to strange and noisy bands. The trio's sound is informed by a mix of electronics, bass, and saxophone (contrabass and "breath-controlled synthesizer" make occasional appearances as well), and the result is something akin to Blue Note jazz artists soloing over backing provided by noise artists. This is the direction Coltrane and Sun Ra would have eventually gone, i suspect, had they lived long enough to hear and embrace the noisier side of free-jazz. It helps to have an appreciation for jazz when listening to this; the sax is the primary instrument here, the bass a bit less so, and the electronics are largely subservient to the jazz feel. (This band is Japanese, which explains a lot of things.) As with most jazz albums, there's a lot of improvisation around the same general theme -- one song is called "Electric Configuration," another "Acoustic Configuration," and there are three variations of "Twelve Notes, and so on. Different songs emphasize different emphasis on the instruments, with the sax more prominent in one and the contrabass taking the lead in others, and for the most part the electronics provide background texture and sometimes piercing drones. Do i detect a Lamonte Young influence buried back there somewhere? I think i do.... The electronic element is most prominent in "A Definate Integral of Autonomy" and "Electric Configuration Again" (where the background electronic ambience sounds remarkably like something Aube might have produced). If you have ever wondered what such a collision of genres would sound like, well, wonder no more.... - RKF

(All Music Guide) The members of the trio Kangaroo Note don¹t play endless series ofbouncing octaves, but their approach of free improvisation sure includes some gigantic leaps. Aso Takashi (electronics), Ando Kunihiro (bass, acoustic and electric) and Masaya Kimura (saxophone and a breath-controlled synthesizer) live in Northern Japan. They represent a community of musicians that work outside the Tokyo 'onkyo' scene and thus away from the spotlights of the trendy avant-garde press. Their approach to free improvisation has closer ties to European, even Norwegian players. Aso¹s electronics have a nutty quality to them that place him somewhere between Matt Wand¹s playfulness and the fun-core esthetics of some members of the Mego crew (Peter 'Pita' Rehberg in particular). Kimura¹s tenor sax bears the stigmata of a free jazz education. Traces of Charles Gayle and Peter Brötzmann surface, although the Japanese never indulges in a frantic decibel chase. Ando¹s playing strongly recalls Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, not only because he shifts between double bass and bass guitar, but also on the count of his rock demeanor. Pasting these descrptions together, you get an unusual picture that encompasses acoustic chamber lushness and noisy electro-acoustic clashes. Some short moments on Soundness are embarrassing ('Electric Configuration Again' goes absolutely nowhere, you¹d think it was taped during a soundcheck). The rest flies high and hits a few worthy peaks in 'Fuss Around Saxophone' and 'Addition.' - François Couture

(Improvijazzation Nation no. 61) Yet another imrov excursion in from our friends at Public Eyesore. This CD features some very interesting percussion based on-the-fly compositions from Japan. Well-framed (by the percussion) electronics whirl/swirl yer' mind into an even worse mess than th' mashed potatoes at C-mas dinner... in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they'd whipped in a few shrooms to liven up th' mix. There are some nice reeds (Misaya Kimura) in th' mix, too, particularly on track 3, "Twelve Notes 1". Some very creative moments here, definitely at "the edge", & not stodgy in approach! The group is able to integrate electronics cleanly into th' mix, without making it come across sounding like some spaceship with flat tires. This one gets enough high marks from my ears to rate it as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any listener enchanted by "new & exciting" improvised music! A definite KEEPER! - Rotcod Zzaj

(Blastitude no. 12) Kangaroo Note consists of Aso Takashi, Ando Kunihiro and Kimura Masaya playing breath controlled synthesizer, tenor saxophone, bass, contrabass and electronics. Soundness is pretty cohesive overall despite the fact that it’s a free jazz record. When people hear "free jazz" they typically think of noisy…noise using traditional jazz instrumentation. Soundness, on the other hand, is pretty restrained in comparison to what I usually think of as free jazz. It does freak out at times but not from start to finish. The three players know when to shut up. It is made up of 12 tracks that, for the most part, stay around the length of a pop song. Refreshing for this genre of music where longwinded "odes" are the norm. The saxophone and bass provide just enough elements of a "jazz record" but the lack of percussion mixed with the electronics give it a arty, avant feel. Soundness is kind of like taking a late 60’s ESP record and playing it over a very, VERY restrained, possibly hungover Merzbow. - John Ruhter


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