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PoiL UEDA – PoiL Ueda(2023)

You would expect the worlds of JUNKO UEDA, a Japanese medieval story teller and chanter (also player of a satsuma-biwa, a 4 stringed, 4 fret instrument), with the experimental French band PoiL who play “cosmic rock without a net” (Bandcamp) ,to collide. But, on Progressive Ears, and elsewhere, most prog fans are raving about the impossible made possible on this album, and I see what they mean, with the caveat that it is rather short (around 30 minutes) and more extended instrumental passages would have further increased the intensity of the vocalising.

The album can be listened to in full on BANDCAMP and there are very reasonably priced and limited LP packages (only a few remaining) there (It’s just a pity that the postage from Europe to the UK is so expensive!)

It is based on the Japanese epic “Heike Monogatan”, starting off with a hypnotic Buddhist Shômyô chant in the 3-part ‘Kujô Shakujô. There is also a two-part ‘Dan No Ura’. The other instruments deployed are guitar, keyboards, bass and drums, and all members of PoiL contribute to the singing in a totally unique kind of fusion. The list of supporters on BANDCAMP seems endless. If you are looking for a unique listening experience this is recommended. The only comparison in my head is with ALICE COLTRANE’s solo works in terms of the spiritual dimension if not the fusion element.

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