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Album Review

Wadachi is an album of light-hearted excellence. You'd more expect to hear it in Tzadik's Radical Jewish Culture series than the label's New Japan, but Compostela is, after all, a Japanese band led by the musician who brought chindon to jazz and rock contexts. The resulting music is a refined blend of Masada, an oom-pa marching band, and the inter-collaborating, madly versatile musicians on Montreal's Ambiances Magnetiques label (such as that heard on Jean Derome's Je Me Souviens). Compiled from recorded performances spanning 1991 through 1992, the music whirls, polkas, and hops with tightly crafted, breathing vibrancy, and can just as quickly lower the energy into beautiful measures strung together on the thread of a guitar played like an erhu on "Sign of 1," or a dirge on "Fallen Bird." Following these tracks, "Un Sterbliche Opfer" offers confounding, bright moments in which alto saxophonist Shinoda Masami delivers a strained tone and breathless phrasing that recall Albert Ayler's gospel renditions! Compostela's music is fun for all occasions, and with such interesting saxophone solos and reliably hearty tuba pulses, listening is uplifting time well spent.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Reedist and drummer Nakao Kanji, tuba player Sekijima Takero and leader and alto saxophonist Shinoda Masami were the Japanese band Compostela. Active during the early '90s, this talented and clever group of musicians brought a new element to the Japanese jazz and rock worlds: chindon music. A cultural tradition, chindon is a way of advertising new businesses utilizing musicians dressed as samurai and geishas who publicly perform uplifting, brass/woodwinds-based music that's a hybrid all sorts of...
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Wadachi, Compostela
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