My Kodo Discography Pick 05 | Masayasu Maeda: Mondo Head (Album)

Masayasu Maeda

The album I recommend is Mondo Head.

When I was a senior high school student, I listened to it almost everyday on my way to and from school. This album completed changed my definition of wadaiko (Japanese taiko drumming) and made me think “Wadaiko is music!” for the first time. That’s obvious to me now, and I credit Mondo Head for that redefining moment.

Mondo Head is a collaborative work with amazing percussionists from around the world. I can’t get enough of their approach to music, the range of their instruments, the freedom of their sound, and all that improv! Though it was recorded almost 20 years ago, it’s forever new.

If I ever hit a creative wall, I listen to this album and it reminds me of all the things we can do with taiko.

 


Two of my favorite tracks are Kashira and Daraijin.

Kashira because, well, that insane groove gets me every time! (lol)
I know Kodo’s played it on tour in the past. I want to play it, too!

And Daraijin because it drew me to tabla and its broad range of tones.

I want to create music that will still be good when I listen to it in 20 years time. Music that taiko players will envy 20 years from now!

Album | Mondo Head

↓Listen to sample tracks (Japanese webpage)

https://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/sicp1_ja.html

↓Buy at Kodo Online Store

http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_86.html

My Kodo Discography Pick 01 | Mitsuru Ishizuka: Akatsuki (Album) and Honoka (DVD)

In the lead up to Kodo’s 40th anniversary in 2021, we looked back over the many works our group has released to date. Each Kodo member will introduce their personal pick (or picks) in this blog series over the weeks ahead.

Mitsuru Ishizuka 


I recommend Kodo’s Akatsuki album and Honoka DVD!

Both of these were recorded in 2010–2011 as special works to commemorate Kodo’s 30th anniversary.

I remember that time as a really tough one.

The entire Kodo ensemble seemed to feel bound by the invisible shackles of its 30 years of history, which had an indescribable oppressiveness on us. And in early 2011, the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami struck. So it was also a period which made us question our reason for doing what we do.

At that complex time, I think each Kodo member was hanging in there, struggling to make it through by focusing on the fundamentals: taiko, their own playing, and the people waiting for Kodo’s tours and concerts.

That led to the emergence of an array of really simple, bold, powerful compositions, which were captured in these recordings.

Akatsuki and Honoka are both works that might feel rather rough, raw, and more rugged that Kodo’s previous works… I think that’s due to an overflow of all the energy we poured in. Our struggles added to our power, so I think that made the works interesting and well worth a listen. (lol)

I hope you’ll enjoy my picks!

Album | Akatsuki

↓Listen to sample tracks

https://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/od006_en.html

↓Buy at Kodo Online Store

http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_75.html

DVD | Honoka

↓Watch trailer

https://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/od007_en.html

↓Buy at Kodo Online Store

http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_68.html

My Kodo Discography Pick 03 | Yuki Hirata: Tsutsumi and Warabe (Albums)

Yuki Hirata


Back when I was in elementary school, I went to sleep each night and woke up each morning listening to these two albums: tsutsumi and warabe.

That’s because I played them as I drifted off to sleep, and then played them again as soon as I woke up the next morning. (lol)

I seem to recall particularly liking the track Itsuka Mata

These albums were released simultaneously, but the way they were recorded is different.

tsutsumi was recorded in a concert hall using one-point recording, which captured the groove and power of a live performance.
warabe was recorded in a studio, so you can enjoy the subtleties of sound crafted in that environment.

The piece I liked as a child, Itsuka Mata, is featured on both albums. So I think it’s fun to listen to and compare the two versions.

 

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration for me to say that I was brought up by these two albums. They brainwashed me (lol), telling me over and over to “Join Kodo!”

I hope you’ll listen to both of them!

Album | tsutsumi

↓Listen to sample tracks
https://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/srcl4670_ja.html

↓Buy at Kodo Online Store

http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_87.html

Album | warabe

 

↓Listen to sample tracks

https://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/srcl4671_ja.html

↓Buy at Kodo Online Store (Japanese)
*English store listing coming soon!

http://store.kodo.or.jp/?pid=128516735


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