It is seemingly difficult these days to find more of the traditional music of a specific country than in the past, as a lot of the older styles are gradually being forgotten. Nonetheless, we can change that trend right now. This album is one of the rare albums of Japanese classical music out there, so without hesitation let’s take a look and see what we have here.

We begin with Chidori No Kyoku which begins with excellent wind instrumentation and plucked string instrument here. No doubt these are the instruments referred to in the album title, it sounds great, deeply rooted in musical history and majestic. Be mindful that this is an 11 minute long piece, and just sounds really different and suspenseful. A great piece of rather discordant music. Strange, yet very eastern, this is a really good listen all the same. Quite good, although odd sounding here. Much suspense is in this instrumental and is a great mesh of music. Great stuff, once you go east you never go back. A fine and excellent rendition of music, although sounding rather odd. Different nonetheless, and a good piece of music to showcase the far east. Very slow, but still worth hearing in a historical context. A lot of patience is required to hear this tune out. In the second half, more of a call-and-response piece emerges here, which is pretty nice. A very well thought out and decent piece of music, this gets very interesting towards the end. This is proof that the Japanese have a brilliant and unique set of music and musical structure here. Excellent sounds and suspense, even for an 11 minute long piece. Refreshing listen, all the way to the end.

Next along is Seki Setsu which is a strange piece to begin with, having some strange wind pipe playing here. It is the lone instrument to begin with on this piece, and just sounds very different to anything else in the music world. Brilliantly suspenseful, even for just one instrument. This sort of thing takes some patience and understanding to hear, so bear that in mind. Admittedly, the playing here doesn’t come across as the best, it does not sound at all easy nor natural here. Good, but not great, in other words. This piece obviously could have been bettered in retrospect. The more intense parts of this track will surprise you, keep an ear out for this sort of thing. Still, it’s okay, but just not as good as it could be. At least one can hear how different the music of traditional Japan is here. Not the greatest performance ever, mind you. Decent effort though.

Aki No Koto No Ha begins with plucked string instrumentation, which sounds really odd and eerie. It is a great mix of rhythm and melody here, just sounding really great. Perfect for that far east mood when you need to hear some strange instrumentation here, it sounds very weird. Good effort, but so far, this album is mostly underwhelming. Sure, it is Japanese classical music, but it does not succeed very well here, it just falls flat. Worth hearing in a historical context, otherwise fairly forgettable. Some good playing is here, however. Really different, it has a very odd ending for a piece like this. Good, but not great.

Rokudan is next and begins with eerie instrumentation here. It’s very much like Indian music here, a great mix between twangy (if you can call it that) plucked stringed instrumentation and brilliant wind instrumentation. Certainly not like anything else in music history, it is still a good listening experience regardless. Very eastern and melodic, just sounding completely different here. It is a very interesting listen for simple instrumentation of its kind, sounding quite unlike anything else out there today. Very unusual, but surprisingly successful here. It picks up somewhat in tempo and intensity towards the end, which is a nice touch. Excellent sounds here, and a very good listen. Good and strange music with a frenetic finish.

Next is Sagano which is a short piece at three and a half minutes long. It begins with some eerie plucking, which is different. It’s a good and short snapshot of what the album is like here, just sounding very different for an instrumental piece. Very odd and eerie sounding, this is an awesome instrument to surprise one who is not used to hearing discordant music. It changes tempo in the middle, which makes the piece sound even weirder. Great and suspenseful music, this is pretty far out. Good example of music here. It ends dramatically.

The longest track on the album is next here, Shoganken Reibo, which is nearly 12 minutes long. It begins with some lone wind instrumentation here, which sounds like a Japanese call to arms. Very different sounding compared to western music, it also has a sense of urgency about it. Brilliant sounding, it is a very nice solo piece for those who really crave something different musically. Slow, but gentle enough to close one’s eyes and meditate to, this is definitely different. A strange piece from the far east, this is a great piece of artistic work. Awesome all the same, a melody paints a picture worth more than 1000 words. Brilliant music all the same, and an incredible performance on this album. Nice effort for a solo wind instrument piece here. Suspenseful from start to finish. A brilliant effort that takes the mind into unseen territory upon listening. Very different, and a nice solo instrumental performance. Epic and enjoyable. Definitely a highlight of this album. Excellent music.

Midare begins with plucked string melodies that sound really weird. Once again, this is quite a long piece of music, at around 10 minutes long, so be prepared for that. A really excellent and decent listen that is suspenseful, this is another good track out there for those who dig traditional Asian music. An interesting and well done instrumental that demands your attention here, this is once again, a great listen for those who desire this kind of music. A really well done and suspenseful instrumental, this is a genuinely good performance. In the second half, the playing speeds up nicely to illustrate the musical setting. Great music at hand, and a wonderful listen all the way through. Excellent playing and sounds here. Towards the end, the playing becomes more intricate and intense, leading to an air of suspense here. It pulsates with energy all the way to the finish, good job here, and a very suspenseful piece of music.

Fuyu Momiji is last here, and follows a more typical sound and playing style here, beginning with string plucking. It sounds really great, and has some frenetic plucking away, before the wind instrumentation returns. Sounding distinctively Oriental, this is completely different to most music out there. A good way to finish off a decent instrumental album, even if the album gets a bit dull at times. The playing here is very, very good though. The different sections here illuminate the world of eastern music here. A great effort regardless, this definitely sound unique. Nice to hear something from an ancient tradition of music. Good finish to a decent album.

This is not the greatest instrumental album ever, but is a good example of a decent effort with instrumental instrumentation alone. Too bad that the album goes on for over an hour and some of the playing here sounds a little lackluster and bored. Despite that, this is a good album that just falls short of being a great one, but is okay to hear nonetheless.




If you liked the article and would like to support the author in his musical review quest, please donate to show your support. Thank you for your consideration. Chris Airey