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.
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// Notes from the Road
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