Maher Shalal Hash Baz: C'est La Dernière Chanson
Tori Kudo, the conductor and band leader of Maher Shalal Hash Baz, fuses stray elements of pop, folk, jazz and experimental music into pieces of candid musical gestures. C'est La Dernière Chanson is a double album of songs composed by Kudo between 2005-2007. For the recordings, Kudo assembled nine musicians from Japan and bunkered down for six days in St. Pierre-Eglise, France. Bassoon, guitar, drums, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, glass percussion, organ, rocks and sticks are expanded by a sophisticated counter-repetition technique into an extensive tonal range of colors; the effect is at turns serene, dissonant, enchanting, crisp, spacious and maddeningly catchy. The future of music on Planet Earth. Listen closely, please.
Maher Shalal Hash Baz: L'Autre Cap
Composing his music to be played by amateur musicians, Tori Kudo, the enigmatic conductor of Maher Shalal Hash Baz, has been called "The Master of Mistake". On "L'Autre Cap" he is a wickedly inspired bandleader, presenting a tight package of 27 songs both fierce and fragile.
Barely held together by the threads these songs seem just a note away from falling apart completely. The effect is at turns serene, dissonant, enchanting, rockin', and intensively catchy- kind of a Langley School kids Avant-Idiot Savant Orchestra with a Syd Barrett meets Charles Ives conductor, fusing the most captivating elements of twisted jazz, psychedelic rock rebellion, and dreamy pop chamber music to form a most intimate and cohesive vision of the future of music on Planet Earth.
Maher Shalal Hash Baz were the guests of honor at the 12th Annual Olympia Festival of Experimental Musics. They made the million-mile trip over from Japan to spend some days rehearsing, playing, living and recording in the legendary "Big Room" that formerly housed the mystery that is Dub Narcotic Studio. Man-on-board the control room was Arrington de Dionyso, so it should be no surprise that Old Time Relijun, Melanie Valera (Tender Forever), Warren Lee, and Derek Johnson (Le Ton Mite) make guest appearances among the cast. The sounds are crisp and spacious, the delicate result of three microphones and two days (!) that capture forever the determined spontaneity defining Tori's sophisticated work with the band.
For longtime fans who have tracked the band over their many years and mutations, obviously "L'Autre Cap" is an essential follow up to "Faux Depart" which was also recorded at Dub Narcotic (released on Yik Yak! in 2004). It's also an excellent starting point for those unfamiliar with the long history and naive genius of Tori Kudo's Maher Shalal Hash Baz.