The first emotion that the music of Koenjihyakkei provokes is disbelief, a total inability to grasp how five individuals could come together to create such a sound. Their cacophonous yet ultra-precise future-prog truly sounds beyond the limits of human potential. Initially, that disbelief may or may not be accompanied by an actual enjoyment of the music. But, slowly it all starts to make sense. Koenjihyakkei’s combination of operatic female vocals, dizzying keyboard lines, bleating woodwinds and jaw-dropping drumming creates a sound that can be deeply enjoyed just as easily as it can be marveled at.
The jaw-dropping drumming comes courtesy of group mastermind Yoshida Tatsuya, best known for his work with the Ruins. But whereas that group’s bass/drum dynamic results in a purposefully stripped-down sound, Koenjihyakkei is an entirely different monster — one whose sonic overload will kill you if you give it the chance. Angherr Shisspa is the band’s fourth LP, but the first to get a U.S. release and, therefore, the first to receive attention outside of hardcore prog-nerd circles. And it should get the attention. Why should prog-nerds get to keep this for themselves?
Koenjihyakkei has created a truly unprecedented sound — the Ruins, Melt Banana and later-era Boredoms thrown into a blender, dumped out and coated with a thick prog-rock syrup. Angherr Shisspa (don’t ask what the title means — the members of Koenjihyakkei, like the Ruins, have created their own language) is loaded with brilliant moments within its eight tracks, but it is really best listened to as a whole. That way, the listener is given adequate time to make sense of Koenjihyakkei’s schizophrenic compositional style. There’s order in the chaos, a method to the madness. It just takes us mere mortals a little time to figure it all out.
Yoshida Tatsuya Web site