Kasa Kasa

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This is a highly unusual and incredibly virtuosic project. KBB's star violinist, Akihisa Tsuboy, pairs up with flutist Yukihiro Isso and Adachi Kyodai's guitarist, Source .K. Adachi, for a set of riveting acoustic originals penned by the latter. Each musician is a master of his or her instrument. Adachi's playing is strongly influenced by folk music and flamenco -- he relies on speed and stamina. Isso handles recorder, shinobue, and dengakubue (traditional Japanese flutes) with spellbinding grace, often playing two flutes at once. Tsuboy's virtuosity has rarely been best displayed. Flutes and violin join forces to weave criss-crossing melodies, moving over and under one another at dizzying speeds, while Adachi strums his guitar or mandolin ferociously, as if the fate of humankind were depending on it. His compositions draw mostly on pastoral folk and progressive rock, but the two other players take it into a whole new dimension where romantic virtuosity and the drive of jazz-rock hold hands. Highlights include "Night Dance" and "Short Summer in Valhalla," both breathtaking numbers in terms of sheer speed and invention. The tender melody of "Lost on the Way Home" proves that this trio is about much more than virtuosity. Even the Jethro Tull cover (obligatory it seems with any project involving Adachi) is full of surprises as Tsuboy and Isso mischievously refuse to stick to the original arrangements. Kasa Kasa comes highly recommended: it is one of the finest progressive rock-related albums of 2003.

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