Yas-Kaz: Virgo Indigo LP
Studio Mule open 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 which has toured 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 avant-garde dance group that is known for slow, mesmerizing dance passages, whose repetitive body movements sometimes focusing only on the feet or fingers. Besides his theater 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 collaborative and solo albums. Studio Mule reissues his third solo album, Virgo Indigo, originally published on the Japanese label canyon in 1986. The album opens with "Djidanda", a composition whose melodic drive and percussive groove is reminiscent of 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. Its 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 also brings minimalistic percussive moments, oriental ambient zones, and some electronic drones. "Kara-Kira ~Windscape III~" is an airy spiritual illusion that melds joyful flute notes with gentle chime melodies. "WADJI" starts with an industrial feel, just to break down into a manic, again Moondog-ish, atmosphere full of darkish sounds and nebulous ambient music. Yas-Kaz enters the oriental zones with "Notarinotari", seducing with a jazz-laden romantic soundtrack mood. The final tune, "Jasmin", is yet another surprise, a percussive-driven neon cocktail bar pop that features a humming female voice and mesmerizing synth and guitar melodies. Six tracks that introduce six different locations of Yas-Kaz's ramified artistic work, combining sweetish melodies, dynamic percussions, statuesque minimalism, and world music traditions in spacious compositions.