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LOUD


Country of origin:

Canada

Type of music generally:

Instrumental ambient/active music with world underpinnings. (damon)

Status:

Latest release, Echo and Flow (2012)

See also:

LOUD website (has MP3 and RealAudio clips from taikoelectric)

Comparisons:

I'm pretty sure they're unique. (damon)

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

LOUD is three Vancouver women writing original instrumental music comprising mainly drums and electric guitar, with things like flute and accordion thrown into the mix. Eileen Kage and Leslie Komori play the taiko (Japanese drums) and other percussion that form the underpinnings of their sound, and Elaine Stef fleshes out the sound with her distinctive electric guitar playing. Komori also plays the flute, and Stef the accordion.
     Their web site contains plenty of background information on the three of them; they've obviously all been part of the Vancouver music scene for quite a while. I was interested to note in their bios that both Eileen Kage and Elaine Stef played with the Animal Slaves (another local favourite of mine, sadly defunct) in the 1980s, and that Elizabeth Fischer (lead of the Animal Slaves) is credited with graphic design and images for the CD taikoelectric.
     Their sound is an interesting mix of cultures, with the traditional eastern sound of taiko complemented by the more modern, western electric guitar. Like many of the most interesting musical groups out there, LOUD takes these traditions not as a destination, but rather as a starting point for their own unique experimentation. And it works. (damon)

It's very tasty stuff. It's somewhat reminiscent of the Blue Man Group. Worth checking out! (meth@smoe.org)

They sound pretty neat! (afries@zip.com.au)

Recommended first album:

taikoelectric only release to date

Recordings:


taikoelectric

Release info:

2000--self-released

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended unless you absolutely need lyrics

Group members:

Eileen Kage--taiko, percussion
Leslie Komori--taiko, percussion, flute
Elaine Stef--electric guitar, accordion, taiko, percussion

Guest artists:

Greg Reely--hi hat
Linda Uyehara Hoffman, Alisa Kage, Corrine Lee, Lisa Mah, Catlin Renay, Kathy Shimizu, Lily Shinde--'vocal kiais'

Produced by:

LOUD and Greg Reely

Comments:

Their sound is unique to my experience; not only in the choice of instruments, but in the arrangements and the way the different sounds interact. The album starts with 'LOUDzilla', which seems almost like a baseline establishment of what's unique about their sound: driving, pressing, flowing drumming, followed by the electric guitar picking out a simple but effective melody line. It is not harsh (despite what the group's name might suggest) but there is an edge, a sense of forward motion. The drums seem to carve a path, sweeping you along to the tune's destination. The next track, 'Staying Alive', establishes musical abidexterity, with the guitar this time in the lead, picking out an exciting staccato path for the drums to follow. Somewhere in the middle, the drums take over for a furious solo introduced by some of the group's distinctive 'vocal kiais'. With the groundwork laid, the album moves into the short and beautiful 'April 26' (subtitled 'when something evil is gone; the end of apartheid'). Here both drums and guitar move to the background and the simple, haunting melody line is carried by the addition of a flute.
     The rest of the album follows suit, with most tracks being variations on the drums-and-guitar theme. The drumming is always complex and layered, the melody lines generally simple and effective. Some tracks have an experimental, intellectual feel to them, like 'Pebbles and Boulders', which at first seems dismissable, but on careful listening reveals the reason for its name. Some tracks are energetic and make you want to get up and bounce, like 'Soran Bushi--Last Potato Polka' (which features an accordion carrying the melody, and much vocal exuberance); some are slow and more sombre, like 'Johny Bear' ('in memory of a woman who died in prison'), or the reflective-feeling last track, 'Hush'.
     The whole album is well-crafted. As i said before, it is not 'harsh', but thoughtful, complex and interesting. It is generally soft enough to make great background music for other activities or social gatherings, and is a perfect soundtrack for quiet moments alone in thought. But it also bears up under repeated 'active' listening with its intricate layering and the obvious enthusiasm the artists bring to it. I suspect this one will have a long life very close to the CD player. (damon)

Further info:

LOUD
P.O. Box 78005
2606 Commercial Drive,
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada   V5N 5W1

Email: LOUD@taikoelectric.com


Thanks to damon for his work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2013-01-12 23:33:14.
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