KARI-BAND's Demo EP 'Kari Ongen' Joins JPU Records' Catalogue
The original demo EP from KARI BAND, Kari Ongen, has been re-released digitally from Japanese music specialists JPU Records. The project was formed by three prominent session musicians from Japan; famed, late guitarist Mikio Fujioka, bass-player BOH and drummer Yuya Maeta. Between them they have performed for the likes of BABYMETAL, Blue Man Group and NANA starring MIKA NAKASHIMA.
Kari Ongen is a cumulation of everything the three musicians have experienced in their expansive career, engaged in a wide range of genres. From things learnt and gained from moments of passion, to times of necessity, and from a desire for continual improvement. Joining them on this musical journey are a number of guest musicians that fiercely reflect KARI BAND's convictions, musical tastes, style and other endowments of each member. These include the brass section of Calmera, keyboardist Tatsuya Nishiwaki, guitarist ISAO and pianist Ai Kuwabara.
"What we most want you to hear in this work is the way in which our personalities have been utilised and expressed," KARI BAND stated. "It is the type of work which, listening to each of the sounds of each piece, might conjure up the faces of each of us playing the songs". Further comments from each member regarding each of the EP’s tracks are available below.
Kari Ongen is available to download and stream now, along with KARI BAND's second EP Nimaime, their first release since the passing of Mikio Fujioka.
KARI BAND – Kari Ongen -Demo-
KARI BAND Comments:
Common time's Logic
Though originally meant to be a twisted, alternative version of classic, when the Calmera brass section joins in, it suddenly takes on a brighter tone. It's a happy accident. A strange one-pattern riff that continues in 4/4 time with 19 beats of (4 beats x 1) + (3 beats x 5), putting your head in a spin.
Meant to be a twisted, alternative version of jazz, the addition of Tatsuya Nishiwaki's synth made this track lighter and more up-beat for another happy accident. It's 13, but sounds like quadruple time, doesn't it? I love this riff.
I love this riff that suddenly takes off on 32nd notes. It starts out funky, slowly starts sounding Japanese, then part-way through goes completely Gagaku [ancient Japanese court music]. I can't get enough of it. Oh, and this entire Gagaku section is humanly created.
Erratically alternating dark and cheerful sounds of a twisted, alternative version of metal. It's mind-blowing and seriously cool. The harmonisation part with ISAO, in terms of technical difficulty and harmony... Insane. Lol.
You are tempted to hear it in quadruple time, but it is actually in super fast-tempoed quintuple time. This was, no joke, recorded in a single take. And playing with Ai, the way her piano solo started in, I thought I was going to wet my pants (lol). Ai's playing is genius.
A seriously good piece. But the tonality and rhythm changes are truly odd. "Odd, but pretty" is the ultimate, right?
Common time's Logic
Instead of constructing an ensemble down to a T, the desire is for you to grasp the rough edges of the 16 beat and the nuances of each instrument.
The song has an impressive 13/8 riff. It has a complex rhythm, but it's been polished to be easy on the ear. Please be sure to pay attention to each of the solos, as well.
The trickiness of pulling off rapid tapping riffs with open strings is what evokes the ninja image. We want listeners to get a sense of Japanese flavour from it.
It has a quite gentlemanly finish to it, lol.
This is the first piece by KARI-BAND. The recordings were done in one go. Of the three takes, we chose the one that had the best flow. Hopefully you get a live vibe from it.
Late night in midwinter. The snow falling in the frigid land glitters under the street lights. But, it is warm somehow. That is the image I poured into my playing.
Common time’s Logic
The heart and soul of this piece is its 16th note. There is no way you can get this human-powered 16th note groove via programming. When you just listen to the guitar, it seems so straight-faced, but the addition of Calmera's horns instantly made it more pop.
This is a piece in which we devoted the most time to creating a groove. When playing in irregular time, instead of having everybody stay in the same time, by someone taking a quarter-note approach, we believe it makes it easier to listen to. We packed that intuition into this piece. If you listen along with the rhythm of the guitar, it's delightful to the ear. All I can say is that - in drumming, a quarter-note, is no quarter-note, lol. Tatsuya Nishiwaki joined us in this piece and, the moment he started playing, you were drawn into that world. Incredible solo!
The main riff is so amazing and cool, it’s the kind of piece that gives you the urge to pick up a guitar. But when I listen to it like that, I’m suddenly hit with realisation that I have no idea how to play it at all, lol. Recording made me think, "Yeah, I guess I really like Dennis Chambers" haha.
This piece was played under the category of hybrid metal. When you talk about metal you talk about double bass, when you talk about double bass it's 16th note drumming, but in my head I added another groove line to build up a rhythmic pattern. ISAO joined us and you have to listen to his solo! This is ISAO! Yeah, his solo is exactly how I envisioned it... Absolutely explosive!
When it came time to record, all of the members had it in their minds it’d be done in one go. Since the young star Jazz pianist, Ai Kuwahara, was going to participate in this song, we had decided from the very beginning to record it in one go. We'd really like you to enjoy the tension, sense of unity, the reactivity of the members to each other's sounds… all of those qualities that only arise from doing a single take. The piano solo is of course the highlight, so be sure not to miss that!
I believe this song is very Japanese, and overflows with seasonal and emotional sentiments. It is a piece you can enjoy by listening to it with your eyes close and picturing scenic landscapes. Aiming for a 6/8 simple rock ballad, you can probably get a feel for the drummer that most influenced me. For those of you who recognise the groove and think, "Hey, isn't this...?", you can believe I'm enjoying the moment with you, lol.
All Songs Written & Arranged by KARI BAND