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Plays Standards

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Album Review

Other than Null & Void, this is the most fully realized album from Ground Zero, one of many projects master-minded by ambitious gadfly-turntablist Otomo Yoshihide. Although this Japanese band includes two drummers, a sampler-player, and a shamisen (Japanese stringed instrument) player, the real voice is saxophonist Kikuchi Naruyoshi, whose wails and bleats lead most of the songs here. As far as cover albums go, it's obviously not as historic as Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western, but it's much smarter than Guns N' Roses The Spaghetti Incident?. An impressively diverse brew is served up and reconfigured. Some highlights are Chilean protest singer Victor Jara's "El Derecho De Vivir En Paz done as a driving waltz, torch-class "Those Were The Days" done as a maelstrom, jazz pianist Steve Beresford's "The Bath of Surprise" recorded in audio-verite in an actual bathtub, a lovely sweeping tribute to singer Sakamoto Kyu, a John Philip Sousa march that would make Monty Python proud and a 'Roland Kirk version' of "I Say A Little Prayer." All of which bespeaks of Yoshihide's kaleidoscopic vision of Eastern/Western music, especially appealing here as it's presented in a song-based format that grounds the avant excursions.

Biography

Formed: 1990

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Ground Zero was formed by Otomo Yoshihide in the Fall of 1990. Bassist Kato Hideki is another founding member of this Japanese improvised noise rock group. Other regular members have included drummer Uemura Masahiro, keyboardist Chino Syuichi, saxophonist Hirose Junji, guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa and Kimoto Kazuyoshi on strings. In this, Yoshihide's main project of the decade, he performs on turntables, sampler and guitar. The group's final...
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Plays Standards, Ground Zero
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