August 14, 2008


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Quasimode, The Land of Freedom
Sonar Kollektiv Records, July 8

In Japan, as you may have gleaned from such intravenous slices of life as the movie Lost in Translation, the socio-work sphere has become such a sleepless, sake-guzzling blur that a word — karoshi — was added to the lexicon to identify the concept of death by overwork, for which some Japanese citizens have successfully sued companies. The club scene never sleeps, never ceases to grow more surreal, an unlivable environment from which sprang Japanese underground-club-jazz, or j-jazz as it’ll eventually be classified. Quasimode is a burgeoning force within the community, their music a typhoon of vivid, flawlessly played ’60s/’70s-authentic jazz extracted from salsa (“The Man From Nagpour,” “Percussion Revolver”), bouncy-scatty torch delivered by nameless Bond girls (“Object in the Mirror”) and casual experimentation with assorted other chimeras and miscreants (“Raw Cotton Field” is a hallucinatory, brilliantly rolling waltz for perfectly sculpted Martians). If you were going to collapse of heart failure at a table full of fellow cubicle-inmates, the house band couldn’t be more apropos. AEric W. Saeger