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Toshinori Kondo

Silent Melodies

(Off; US: 20 Nov 2007; UK: 19 Nov 2007)

There is no debate surrounding Japanese trumpeter Toshinori Kondo’s status as a legend in his own time. The guy has worked with everyone from Bill Laswell and DJ Krush to Herbie Hancock and the 14th Dalai Lama. He has collected many truly breathtaking works under his belt over his busy years. Silent Melodies just happens to not be one of them. The title of the album is brutally literal as it consists entirely of an electric trumpet moaning and pulsing with varying vigour. There is nothing here in the way of a beat or tune, just “whaoooooo” liberally panned in different tones and unpredictable consistency. As an ambient album, it’s too unsettling and occasionally piercingly jarring, while as a jazz album, it’s plain boring. Suffice to say, there is markedly better stuff out there from Kondo. Do yourself a favor and find that Ki-Oku album he did with Krush before you come anywhere near Silent Melodies.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys, with a butt that won't quit.


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