Damo Suzuki?s openness to collaborating with musicians around the world brings a certain edge of uncertainty to his live shows: when it works, it enhances his mythic status, but it?s a risk that doesn?t always pay off. This album was captured at a Tokyo club in March 2006 and is undeniably one of the nights when the stars aligned and the energy flowed.
Damo?s stamina in performance is a true tour de force. I?m certain I would?ve enjoyed the live show for this reason, but throughout the five substantial pieces on record, he hardly ever lets up and after a while I found myself wishing the band had a bit more breathing space.
They are: Hoppy Kamiyama on keyboards; Yuji Katsui, violin; Kenji Sato, bass; and Tatsuya Yoshida, drums. All players with their own substantial track records, on their own and in collaborations ranging from Gong and AMT to Bill Laswell, but here it is Damo?s show all the way. At one point I was marvelling at the interplay between violin and drums and thinking that Jerry Goodman and Billy Cobham?s playing in the Mahivishnu orchestra might?ve been a touchstone, but the moment didn?t last too long before Mr Suzuki was back on the mic.
As a document of a live performance, this album is very good. The playing is fine indeed, the star of the show is clearly fired up, the recording is of a good standard and it?s even neatly packaged. It?s hard to avoid comparing anything new from Damo Suzuki to his groundbreaking work with Can, but I can?t help feeling that this record doesn?t really expand his art and, like many live albums, it?s one for the existing fans rather than the music which will bring new listeners to the fold. 6/10 -- John Cavanagh (28 November, 2007)