(review Ioana Nica, photos: JP Daniels)
(courtesy to Keys and Chords magazine)
Under the name of “FAIRY TALES FROM YAWIQUO – curious night fever”, Magasin 4 presented indeed a intriguing line-up: from Czech Republic – Už Jsme Doma, from Japan – Ruins Alone, Ono Ryoko and Sax Ruins and from France, L’Oeillère. A mini-festival of five names. I got into little trouble in choosing the order in which I should present the bands, as all of them were stand-alone concerts, no openings or support groups.
I’ll just start in the classical chronological order, which, by the way, was not the one previously announced by the organizers, when L’Oeillère were the first act. Probably due to the curfew restrictions, when the “noise” should cease at 10 pm. Therefore, at 7.30 pm sharp, God spoke: And let there be … noise.
Tatsuya Yoshida took his place at his drum kit, pushed a button on his computer and started on the blast. Tatsuya Yoshida is not for the first time this year in Magasin 4. He has already performed as Ruins Alone in a past concert together with Korekyojinn, another of his brilliant projects. A review of this concert can be found here.
Watching Tatsuya Yoshida playing Ruins Alone is like watching a genius free child playing at ease with sticks, cymbals, voice, computer bass line and effects. In unperturbed, unconfined, unrestricted, unobstructed and unlimited ways. So complex and highly avant-garde jazz, and still so pleasant, enjoyable and even amusing. Pieces of sound going into different directions. You would have never guessed that there could have been enough place in a space for so many turns, direction changes and metamorphoses executed with striking precision.
He then let the space to be filled up with the saxophone sound of Ono Ryoko. Ono looks like a teenage Japanese girl with a beautiful smile,
giving the impression that she’s just a little bit taller than the instrument she’s carrying with and who could barely climb on the stage from the public without help.
But she’s a bachelor in Fine Arts, playing the saxophone for 15 years now and with an impressive list of collaborations: Tatsuya Yoshida, Psyche Bugyo, Acid Mother Temple, just to name a few, approaching styles like jazz, classical music, progressive rock, funk, hip-hop, rhythm & blues, once more just to name a few. In 2007 she formed her band – Ryorchestra and invented a new language to write lyrics – Language R. Her musical style comes in two words: powerful and sophisticated. Her recital was an insanely intense performance of circular blowing and multi-phonic sounds.
After her impressive solo, here comes the time for Sax Ruins who is, as it could be easily guessed from the name, Tatsuya Yoshida on drums and Ono Ryoko on saxophone. They brought back the idea of free children, this time playing together a set of which some rearranged songs from Ruins Alone. The computerized bass line from Ruins Alone swaps with the saxophone. It’s not a replacement, it just makes the combination in sound as non-human as ever. Math precision, avant-garde style, improvisation, reverberant minimalism and concrete density. The name of their album released at Ipecac Records is Yawiquo, as the name of this event.
Funny moment in the recital: Tatsuya Yoshida was announcing each song and both instruments were starting abruptly to play together at once. For one, they had to stop as they didn’t start the same song. Proof that improvisation is art, not hazard.
After such intensity, one could go home happy with an excellent concert, unless ready for a totally different experience. After wall, the event named was promising us fairy tales, so we could only expect more of them.
One straightforward and common fact stands behind every longevous rock bands coming from Eastern Europe: there is a story that goes beyond the band, a story which does not consists in biography, musical style or playing techniques, but carries within olden times, relates to historical events and awakes resonance in people. And no matter if they are described by the style similarities with the international music, the collective unconscious brings them out in national packages. Even their instrumentation sounds different: for some it can be like a language spoken with a foreign accent, for others it may sound like home.
Už Jsme Doma is frequently cited in relation with The Damned, Pere Ubu, or Sex Pistols and associated with the Rock in Opposition movement. They are acknowledged for their collaboration with The Residents in 1995. But there is a strongest context behind them, insightfully coined by François Couture: “Along with Plastic People of the Universe they became ambassadors of Central European rock, frequently touring the U.S. and establishing a cult following in America. If the Plastic People of the Universe embody the Communist repression of the 1970s and 1980s in their gloomy, despair-driven music, then Uz Jsme Doma represents the exuberance of liberation.”
The name of the band translates literally to “We’re home now” but conversationally means “Now I understand. Now I get it.” There is some true in it, as they are hard to get from the first appearance on stage: first because the drummer comes in with a broomstick and he is sweeping the floor. Then the rest of the members appear, dressed up in very yellow nightgowns with matching nightcaps. And they begin their show smoothly, making you wonder of what kind of joke are they up to.
But the concert was a constant crescendo, in term of quality and roughness of sound. In terms of style, as a progressive rock band it has it all: from punk and new-wave to cabaret and ethnic music, so the public could stay in contemplation or jump around.
A few words about the members: Miroslav Wanek (guitar, keyboards) the main composer and lyricist is also a poet. Pepa Červinka’s execution is quality from beginning till end, creating poetry with his bass. Adam Tomášek’s trumpet can spice up any ethnic, classical or punk rhythms all along. Jaroslav Noga’s drums execution is exquisite. He’s one of the winners of Roland’s V-Drums World Championship.
The ambiance was very enthusiastic, the public was very active and the band had no choice than to come back for an encore.
Už Jsme Doma
I have just one regret: not buying a Už Jsme Doma t-shirt with the original art of Martin Velíšek.
L’Oeillère held his acoustic recital at the end and I must say he had
a lot to offer to the public who didn’t stay only for buying records or share a last beer. L’Oeillère is Nicolat Gardrat and he plays the guitar in a style he named classical barbarian guitar. He didn’t go on stage. He played near the merchandise point, under a light spot, on a chair and with his feet on the guitar box. He masters a very interesting technique, combining classical guitar with fast rhythms in a low key register. A very nice way to end the evening.
Many thanks to Magasin 4 for such exquisite show and also most important high-quality sound.