Tashi Wada with Yoshi Wada & Friends – Nue

Genre: Avant-Garde
Released: September 2018
Reviewed by: Benedict Roff-Marsh

When I was sent this I had absolutely no idea who Tashi or Yoshi Wada are. Not the foggiest.

The work was clearly Avant-Garde and I wasn’t super keen as I had just bailed on a couple of similar looking things that ended up sounding like drunken mice around a xylophone. I’m sure it is great to prove how out there you are but…

So I started on “Nue” with some trepidation. The release notes said:

The album’s title itself is a nod to Tashi’s abiding interest in duality and the unknown: nue is a mythological Japanese chimera with the face of a monkey, the legs of a tiger, and a snake for a tail, a composite form, at once disturbing and otherworldly. But, as the composer points out, nue is also French for naked—stripped of complexity, bare and exposed, but also raw and essential.

Ok, interesting. I also read something about bagpipes. Oh no.

After deciding to be open-minded (at least until I couldn’t be anymore) I started to realize that this project was the right sort of different. It resembles KISS not a whit but it still has some sort of narrative. Even though not in any conventional verse/chorus sense.

I have some advantage perhaps in being a long-time fan of Prog Rock like Yes, ELP & Tangerine Dream so I have already stepped some way past the Pop song. Luckily I could hear some similar elements in here.

Each listen built layers of interest.

This is interesting music as it is mostly built of sound. Often very sparingly layered. Then sometimes there are melodies. Or perhaps that is melodic & tonal movement.

I did make the mistake of listening quietly as that is how I usually listen to Ambient music but after researching Yoshi, I find he often wanted his music played LOUD to allow the listener to really take in the extra details.

Kinda hurts (my poor sensitive ears) but it does work. The music sounds really large and detailed in a way it didn’t before.

Background, Yoshi Wada was one of the early people involved in the Fluxus movement back in the 60’s. Yoko Ono is probably the most well-known proponent of the movement and as we all know, she did some mighty odd things. And then she met John Lennon.

Tashi Wada is Yoshi’s son and has a history of his own musical explorations. I dipped into a few and will say the while I could feel the similarities, they were beyond me and sounded like Prelude to a Concerto for Sirens. Sorry, Tashi.

“Nue” I like though and I think it has created a bridge that has let me explore a little deeper into areas of music that, while I have always been aware of, haven’t managed to grok in any useful way.

Favorite piece: “Fanfare”, especially from about the two-minute mark as it becomes rather Prog Rock which as I already said, I do understand rather well.

Normally I show a few other records that I think are similar (and usually own myself). This time I have nothing useful to add. Simply because apart from having reviewed Lucrecia Dalt – Anticlines I really don’t have anything I can confidently compare.

I do hope that if this sort of music is new to you that you take some time to let it seep in until it starts to make some sense to you. You may still not love it as much as you do your 20 Boney M Disco Greats but it is a fascinating form rather well done.