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Ausia - Kasa Kasa

Ausia - Kasa KasaAnd now for something completely different in the world of prog.  Ausia, from Japan, have come up with a purely acoustic (‘unplugged’) album, Kasa Kasa.  Acoustic ‘unplugged’ albums are not exactly unheard of but the instrumentation usually includes guitar, percussion and a sort of cheat involving bass guitar and keyboards and so is not really totally ‘unplugged’.                   

But use violin, acoustic guitar, mandolin, recorder and the shinobue and dengakubue (Japanese bamboo flutes) and the result is a true ‘unplugged’ album that is quite different.

The music is not readily comparable to anything else as it draws on the sounds and textures of classical Japanese music with another foot in the British folk camp.  Most of the album is instrumental but a couple of the tracks feature vocals, which are suggestive of a contemporary English male folk/rock type of vocalist.  Anything with flute and a folk element is often compared with Jethro Tull or Ian Anderson and as if to prove this myth to be a reality, Ausia perform a cracking rendition of Mother Goose in full ‘minstrel’ fashion.  Swirling violin, demented flute and Anderson (young Anderson that is) style guitar and vocals prove to remind the listener just how good Minstrel In The Gallery was and still is.  Other track titles, such as Short Summer In Valhalla and Indian Rain, also indicate some Tull reference or influences.

Guitarist and mandolin expert Source K. Adachi (he also does vocals), when he’s not in Ian Anderson mode, could be compared to John McLaughlin.  Flautist Yukihiro Isso is established in his art having started his career in the classical movement before showing his peers what could be achieved musically by adapting his style to the rock arena.  Akihisa Tsuboy should need no introduction, as he is the force within jazz-prog outfit KBB (who are to perform at the 2004 Baja Prog festival).

Kasa Kasa will not be to everyone’s tastes, but for the more eclectically predisposed listener, the fusion of classical Japanese music with contemporary English folk (with a touch of Tull) arranged in a progressive style, will prove fascinating and enjoyable.

Jem Jedrzejewski




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