Satoko Fuji / Tatsuya Yoshida - "Toh-Kichi", Victo

Would it be an insult to call this duo set from pianist Satoko Fuji and percussionist Tatsuya Yoshida a cartoon soundtrack degrading? After so many listens, I can't get myself away from this comparison. I know it may seem simplistic, but the sounds these two produce would fit very well alongside some fast action cartoons. There's no real winner in this break-neck speed chase of a record. I could lie to you and say that Ruins drummer, Tatsuya Yoshida, really sets the pace. Then again, Satoko Fuji keeps up with him [and then some] by pounding the hell out of her instrument. There are moments here where I'm sure I can hear the sound of breaking piano keys. Some of the best parts arrive when Tatsuya vocalizes in some wild language only he can comprehend on top of his wild percussive lines. Don't get me wrong, as much a large majority of "Toh-Kichi" is fast-paced cartoon music, there are very unique, almost poetic piano passages here that make you think the duo wanted to showcase everything they're capable of in one short 50 minute performance. This is really schizophrenic music created especially for people who are bored with any one thing after a short while. I can just imagine the audience at the 2002 Victo Festival [where this recording was put down on tape] sitting there bewildered, at the end of the performance, asking one simple question: "What the hell?"

Tom Sekowski

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