[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. Vision That You Give 8:38 2. Night Dance 2:46 3. When That I Was a Little Tiny Boy 2:26 4. Indian Rain 7:06 5. Housewarming in Alaska 7:12 6. Mother Goose 3:29 7. Short Summer in Valhalla 6:53 8. Lost on the Way Home 4:44 9. Kasa-Kasa 12:02 All music: by Adachi or Adachi & Isso, except 3: from "12-th Night" by W. Shakespeare, & 6: I. Anderson. Engineered by Dani. LINE-UP: Source Adachi (Adachi Kyodai, others) - guitar & mandolin; vocals Yukihiro Isso (solo, others) - recorder & Japanese woodwinds Akihisa Tsuboy (KBB, others) - violin
Prolusion. Ausia is a new Japanese project, which can easily be regarded as a supergroup (see line-up above), though "Kasa-Kasa" is not the first journey into the world of acoustic progressive music these musicians have undertaken this year.
Synopsis. The album features nine tracks, seven of which are instrumentals and are Ausia's original compositions, while the songs: When That I Was a Little Tiny Boy and Mother Goose (3 & 6) are the renditions of others' works (see notes below track list). Both of them are as if taken from one of the earlier Jethro Tull albums, and of course, Source sings here not unlike Ian Anderson. But this is not all. Adachi's own compositions are original and are much more interesting than these two, and the total duration of them is about 49 minutes, which is more than enough for a full-length album. Nevertheless, it seems the man's only, but all-absorbing passion, Jethro Tull (reading Jethro Tull, having in mind Ian Anderson), pursues him as a shadow, to put it mildly. Otherwise When That I Was a Little Tiny Boy and Mother Goose - these are just the same songs Source used on his previous album, "Adachi Kyodai" - would not have been available here, as well, and I wouldn't have been subjected to deja vu when listening to them:-). By the way, all these cover versions have little differences among themselves. As I've implied above, all the virtues of "Kasa-Kasa" are in Ausia's own compositions, and there are plenty of them. The arrangements on each instrumental composition consist of thrilling, mostly constantly developing and intensive interplay between passages, solos, and rhythms of acoustic guitar, solos of recorder, and passages of violin and are much more diverse and interesting than those on the songs. An amazingly fresh sounding, truly unique chamber Classical Music is in the basis of the album's stylistics. In pure form, it is presented on Housewarming in Alaska and Lost on the Way Home (5 & 8), and with elements of English folk music on Vision That You Give, Night Dance, and Short Summer in Valhalla (1, 2, & 7). The remaining two compositions are, in my view, especially wonderful. Indian Rain and the album's title track (4 & 9) sound like the works of South Indian Classical Music (that even Lakshmi Subramaniam would be proud of!) and are just filled with magic.
Conclusion. The motivation of inclusion of the same songs in two different albums released the same year is beyond my comprehension. In short, I can't rate "Kasa-Kasa" as a masterpiece, even though on the whole, the album is probably worthy of that status. Nevertheless, this is probably the most interesting and richly sounding album of acoustic progressive music I've heard this year.
VM: December 17, 2003
[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]