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Ausia: Kasa Kasa

See? We do it all here on Sea Of Tranquility. Prog, fusion, metal, and now a modern incarnation of chamber music.

Kasa Kasa is an acoustic album comprising 9 pieces, 7 of which are instrumental. Ausia is a project of three accomplished progressive rock musicians from Japan: Source Adachi, from Adachi Kyodai, is on guitar, mandolin, and vocals. Yukihiro Isso from Solo is on recorder and a Japanese woodwind instrument called a dengakubue, a Japanese bamboo flute. And Akihisa Tsuboy from KBB among others is on violin. Now that may read like a bayou trio fiddle, whistle and geetar but this is a trio of masters, and this album would find a home in the classical section just as easily as on the progressive, jazz, or avant garde fusion shelves.

The strength of this album lies in the instrumentals. Adachi Kyodai's vocals have a rich Ian Anderson timbre, but it is heavily accented and does not come across with the same credibility as the instrumental pieces. A Japanese accent on an English progressive folk song simply does not work.

You've never heard a recorder played this way. Yukihiro Isso is clearly a virtuoso flautist, and his style is reminiscent of Anderson only in that frantic, breathless tone. In fact, to complete the Anderson comparisons, Ausia plays a cover of Jethro Tull's Mother goose. Again the vocals fail to stand up, but the instrumentation is out of the top drawer.

The artists' enthusiasm is infectious the enthusiastic jamming, the improvised soloing, the artists' occasional yelp of enjoyment, and the instrument noise from the woodwinds and the guitar strings. The 7 intrumental pieces are excellent, and the two final tracks deserve special mention. "Lost On The Way Home" is a short melancholy piece, and the title track is a 12-minute jam session that meanders through a variety of styles and moods and some wizard-fast noodling on violin and recorder.

The tone and styles of the music range from English medieval and folk prog through ethnic Japanese music to fusion and avant garde jazz. This is not rock, folks. It's like nothing you've ever heard. Kasa Kasa may wear you down after a while there's only so much sonic variety you can squeeze from 3 acoustic instruments.

Many people will love this but try before you buy.

Track Listing
1. Vision That You Give (8:38)
2. Night Dance (2:46)
3. When That I Was a Little Tiny Boy (2:26)
4. Indian Rain (7:06)
5. Housewarming in Alaska (7:12)
6. Mother Goose (3:29)
7. Short Summer in Valhalla (6:53)
8. Lost on the Way Home (4:44)
9. Kasa-Kasa (12:02)

Added: March 3rd 2004
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Ausia's Web Site
Hits: 5192
Language: english

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