Quikion+Lithuma Qnombus - Live

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Poseidon
Catalog Number: PPS-001
Format: DVD
Total Time: 84:00:00

I was introduced to the Japanese trio Quikion in 2002, when I reviewed their Hallelujah!- The Early Recordings of Quikion. I was enchanted by the group's lively world-inflected folk music, enough that Hallelujah!... became a favorite "change of pace" listen for me. Happily, Quikion, together with the duo Lithuma Qnombus, continues to provide delightful, engaging entertainment, as aptly demonstrated on their first DVD, Live.

On the night of 31 March 2005, Quikion Lithuma Qnombus came together to play a club gig primarily composed of Quikion music. Quikion, the trio of Yukiko Totoki, Eiji Oguma, and Emi Sasaki (on whom I now have an inexplicable crush), chose to augment their sound with rhythmic support provided by Genta Kudoh and Shu Kamiyama. The resulting set was inspired and gripping, highlighted by seemingly effortless displays of musical virtuosity and near-palpable group chemistry.

One thing to keep in mind: Quikion and -- Q LQ do not traffic in progressive rock, let alone rock in general. In fact, although the group(ing) is Japanese, the music is not. Quikion/Q LQ deal in true world music, most of which is based on Eastern European and Middle Eastern forms, and as such depends on the use of traditional and medieval instruments -- no synths or axes in sight.

Which is, of course, just fine since this date appears to be an intimate club date and there was clearly not much room for amplifiers on the small stage. The band is tightly but efficiently arranged, with only bassist Kamiyama choosing to stand. The audience is, for the most part missing, as most of the applause has been edited out; the few glimpses of the patrons are band shots taken from among the seats (although we do get one good view of a man drinking from a bottle of what could be water or sake). The editing is very good overall; the shots of the musicians are sensible and timely, managing to focus on the musicians during the appropriate moments in each song. The sound quality is superb; the clarity of all instruments and voices are nearly crystalline, coming through with a warmth not often heard in digital recordings.

By itself, the sheer talent of Q LQ would have made this a good show. However, the combination of folk trio and rhythm section infused a refreshing spirit into the songs (drawn mostly from Hallelujah!... and 2004's Ramadan), lending each a depth and, in some cases, a sense of urgency not heard before. "Hallelujah!" is a prime example, building from its folk-ish roots to a sturdy rocker before fading quietly away on Sasaki's accordion. The rock groove returns for "Iranian Boy," which opens with an unusual vocal duet between Totoki and bassist Kamiyama, underpinned by Kudoh's tabla. At the other end of the spectrum, "Nightharp" seems like a distant cousin to Yes' "Awaken" but remains true to its own quiet, melancholy spirit.

Fortunately, much of what progressive music fans listen to incorporates such traditional and ethnic influences to make it ? well, progressive. And, given a spirited performance in the live context, the music becomes uplifting and even more enjoyable. With that in mind, Quikion Lithuma Qnombus' Live is an engaging musical experience that many progressive fans should easily come to appreciate. So when you need to put away the rock and do something different, go ahead - get Live!

Toki No Mi / Moon And A Bride / Hallelujah! / Zawa Zawa / Summertime / Bulerias On The Table / Nightharp / Iranian Boy / Cha-Ri-Ne / Spellbound / Tali-La / Heaven Knows / Incomplete Polka / Bonus tracks: Ouma-ga Toki / Briolage / Concertina Blues

Totoki Yukiko - vocals, concertina, harmonium
Oguma Eiji ? guitar, bouzoki
Sasaki Emi - accordion, glockenspiel, percussion, vocals

Lithuma Qnombus:
Kudoh Genta - percussion
Kajiyama Shu - bass, vocals

Escargot Bianco (1999)
Yoru No Harp (2001)
Hallelujah! (2002)
Ramadan (2004)

Live (DVD) (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin JP

Added: March 18th 2006
Reviewer: David Cisco

Artist website: www.sound.jp/quikion
Hits: 1139
Language: english


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