Monday, March 15, 2010

Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Ecophony Rinne

Geinoh Yamashirogumi (芸能山城組) is a musical collective founded in 1974 by Tsutomu Ōhashi, comprised of doctors, journalists, engineers, students -- basically everyone and anyone capable of making noise.
Initially the group was known for their re-creations of folk music throughout the world (though obviously on a much larger scale), but not until the advent of electronics/synthesizers did the group expand their scope enormously, and gain commercial appeal.

MIDI synths in the 80's couldn't handle traditional tuning systems of gamelan instruments, so the group had to "modify" and program to fit their needs; 'Ecophony Rinne' in 1986 was the first release by the collective to showcase this blending of organic/electronic instrumentation, suited firmly in the hypnotic choir and percussive force of the group.

This whirlwind of styles and voices caught the attention of
Katsuhiro Ōtomo, who enlisted the group to do the entire soundtrack for the popular anime 'Akira' (and anyone who has seen Akira ((hopefully everyone)) should know the immensity of that soundtrack).

The group has reportedly tackled over 80 styles of traditional music from throughout the world, but has managed to somehow keep the overwhelming presence of their music relatively unknown.
Fans of Akira will feel right at home (as the two albums were in conjunction with one another)...the kind of huge, ethereal swells and crashes to knock the crust out of your eyelids in the morning.
"Dark Slumber" is a highlight for me.

Ecophony Rinne
mind the graves