Kangaroo Note - "Soundness"
(Public Eyesore 2001, #26)
From Aural Innovations #23 (April 2003)
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.
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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz