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studio mule is back with another amazement, opening the roster towards sophisticated spiritual sounds on the crossroads of electrified jazz, oriental fourth-world spheres and deeply composed experimental sounds. this time the label welcomes japanese artist ya-sukazu sato aka yas-kaz, a university-trained percussionist, that gained global success as a composer for the internationally known butoh dance troupe sankai juku, that tours around the world since 1975. his infrequent musical amalgamation of ancient eastern genres, airy soundscapes, and ritualistic dance percussions perfectly accompanied the modern dance movements of an avantgarde dance group that is known for slow, mesmerizing dance passages, whose repetitive body movements sometimes focusing only on the feet or fingers. besides his theatre work, yas-kaz composed scores for japanese movies, performed live along stars like us-american jazz saxophonist wayne shorter or legendary japanese new-age musical group himekami and recorded a number of collabo-rative and solo albums.
with “virgo indigo”, studio mule reissues his third solo album, originally published on the japanese label canyon in 1986. the album opens with “djidanda”, a composition whose melodic drive and percussive groove reminds on moondog’s spirit. melancholic strings, loose guitar riffs, spiritual cowbells and wild, yet mild rhythms form a repetitive maelstrom that is made for all sorts of acrobatic body movements. it gets followed by the album’s title track “virgo indigo”, a spiritual jazz leaning arrangement featuring wayne shorter on the soprano saxophone, delivering a crystal-clear performance above tribal rhythms and traces of gamelan. the story-arc of the ten-minute long composition brings also minimalistic percussive moments, oriental ambient zones and some electronic drones, all calm and lively at the same time.
a versatileness, that marks the other four arrangements on the album, too. “kara-kira ~windscape iii~” comes around as an airy spiritual illusionist, that melds joyful flute notes with gentle chime melodies. the b-side’s epic opener “wadji” starts industrial, just to break down into a manic, again moondogish atmosphere full of darkish sounds and nebulous ambient deepness. subsequent yas-kaz enters with “notarinotari” the oriental zones, seducing with a jazz-laden romantic soundtrack mood. the final tune is yet another surprise, as “jasmin” is percussive driven neon cocktail bar pop, that features a hum-ming female voice and mesmerizing synth and guitar melodies. six tracks that introduce six different locations of yas-kaz’s ramified artistic work, which combines sweetish melodies, dynamic percussions, statuesque minimalism and world music traditions in spacious compositions that stay surprising until the very last second.
A1. Djidanda 05:20
A2. Virgo Indigo 10:10
A3. Kara-Kira ~Windscape III~ 05:07
B1. WADJI 10:40
B2. Notari-Notari 05:23
B3. Jasmin 06:09
Virgo Indigo LP
Studio Mule 35