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Tara Jane O'Neil and Nikaido Kazumi


Tara Jane O'Neil and Nikaido Kazumi

  K Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  

Sometimes Brendan here misunderstands his minions. This album came with the following information from our leader: "Tara Jane O'Neil and Nikaido Kazumi is a collaboration between Tara Jane O'Neil (who used to be in Louisville Math-rock act Rodan a long time ago) and a Japanese collaborator named Nikaido Kazumi. It's probably kind of wierd-ish. I bet Indoor Miner will like this."

Honestly. After all these years doesn't our great leader know that I'm a pop tart at heart? Altogether now, "Cheer up sleepy Jean"...

Actually, I do understand where he may have got this impression. I've reviewed the Fflint Central stuff and it doesn't get much weirder than that. And last year I was raving about a work of incredible beauty by Japanese artist Tonchi. It certainly stands head and shoulders over this set. Brendan's right though this is kind of weird-ish. It's sparsely recorded, relying heavily on wailing and percussion. Whilst it does have some moments, be warned you need to hear this album a few times before they start to become apparent. And unfortunately, if I'm being totally honest, I'm really not convinced that it ultimately re-pays the listens it demands.

The opening Lullaby is probably as conventional as it gets but it's Ruh Roh and 4 Trains, which both rattle along like some old steam engine, that are probably the highlights. Nature Jam features what sounds like demented penny whistles, Nursery is the sound of Bjork, aged 11, messing about with her toys whilst her friend practices the guitar in her bedroom, whilst Thumb Drum pretty much lets you know how it's going to sound just from its title. I was going to describe some other tracks, but they featured words like Bjork and toys and I've done them already, so I'll stop here, except to point out that, lest there be any doubt, that these tracks won't be for everyone. In fact I'd be lying if I said they were for me, but I can appreciate what they're aiming for even if there is only so much wailing I can take (well, in this context at least!). On the other hand, Rice Ball just sounds like two people messing about and you wonder what made them think that anyone else in the world would want to hear it. Ditto Nikapella for that matter.

Apparently O'Neil and Kazumi spent two years turning their four days of recordings into these finished pieces. I really don't mean to sound unkind, but I think they'd have been better advised doing something else with their time. I'll be generous and say file under "interesting".

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