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TAIGA (Thrill Jockey Records)

Wednesday, Mar 21 2007
Anyone familiar with Yoshimi P-we's schizophonic work in Japanese avant-rock pioneers UFO Or Die and Boredoms was probably surprised at the circular, sometimes pastoral prog-psych minimalism of OOIOO. A decade after P-we's other group started, it continues to confound expectations with the percussive, global experimentalism of its latest effort, TAIGA. Drifting from the chant-heavy, twin romps "UMA" and "UMO" — which come off like a Japanese cheerleading squad on a drunken Carnival bus tour with a Brazilian bateria — to Ornette Coleman-style, free-fusion weirdness on "KMS," to the Afrobeat-tinged guitar grooves that power "UJA" and "IOA," Yoshimi and company literally veer all over the map. Though the band still touches on the spacey, trance-inducing sound of past albums, the skeletal approach with marimba and steel drums leans more toward Philip Glass and Steve Reich than the group's earlier krautrock pulse. Along with a recently issued, limited EP featuring a couple of techno freakout remixes by Boredoms founder Yamatsuka Eye, the songs on TAIGA prove OOIOO remains on the leading edge of modern rock's sonic laboratory. — Dave Pehling

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Dave Pehling


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