Indigo Jam Unit
Pirates


5.0
classic

Review

by Trifolium USER (13 Reviews)
February 11th, 2020 | 69 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A groovy, instrumental modern jazz classic from a fully acoustic quartet.

If you want to get to know Indigo Jam Unit, you really only have to check one track. Listen to Pirates, the first track of their 2008 release of the same name. It sums up everything they are about. A nicely creaky upright bass lays down a swinging groove. Jazzy drumming is introduced a few bars in, joined shortly by percussion (bongos?) a few bars later. To top it all off, a snarky, unconcerned piano line weaves in and out of sync. The track builds on this idea, exploring its possibilities and growing wilder and louder towards the end, before one final drum barrage swells and reintroduces the opening motif and it slowly fades out. There you have it.

Osaka’s very own jazz quartet started in 2005 as a trio, with Yoshichika Tarue on piano, Katsuhiko Sasai on double bass and Isao Wasano on drums and percussion. After several live concerts, their Basis Records producer made a line-up suggestion, which proved to be instrumental in giving them their unique identity. He introduced Takehiro Shimizu to the band, whose rock and pop oriented drum style contrasted nicely with Wasano’s loose, jazzy grooves. The trio became a quartet and with this line-up an incredibly prolific decade began, during which the band would release all their 11 albums in just over 9 years.

Pirates’ sound is exemplary for what the band stands for. Everything is recorded live in the studio, in one take, without manipulation or overdubbing. This organic approach makes the music feel alive and brimming with energy. Melodically, the piano plays the most important role, but the double bass takes centre stage more often than not and the many different drum and percussion instruments make for a varied and colourful listen. The aforementioned contrast in drum approaches really works for them, making the grooves feel even more swinging then they already were.

Like all of Indigo Jam Unit’s albums, energy levels vary greatly between tracks. There are several highly energetic beasts such as the title track, Rumble with its sharp drum fills and propulsive bass line, and Trailer which bounces and rolls along with the percussionists going crazy, especially during the drum roll halfway through which introduces a swinging climax where the piano goes into a prolonged solo. On the other hand there are moments of calm, with Arctic Circle and its frosted, repeating piano pattern and Himawari with soft egg shaker set off against gorgeously controlled jazzy fills. Some tracks switch drastically halfway through, such as Raindrop, which gradually grows from a soft patter into a true storm which closes off the album.

Pirates is a great showcase of what this amazing collective is capable of. If you like this, there are ten albums just like it waiting to be discovered.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Trifolium
February 11th 2020


19320 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

FINALLY. This so needed I review. Jam this asap and fall in love!

parksungjoon
February 11th 2020


22403 Comments


sounds like something i need to hear

dope rev as always hard pos m/

Digging: Have Mercy (MD) - Armageddon Descends

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2020


29425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes yes yes pos pos pos

Himawari and the closer are top notch fabulous, need to come back to the rest more often

"introduced Takehiro Shimizu to the band, whose rock and pop oriented drum style contrasted nicely with Wasano’s loose, jazzy grooves"

Interesting, gonna pay more attention to this in future

Digging: Tricot - 10

Trifolium
February 11th 2020


19320 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks lovely bros!

Really love to focus on the drums with them while listening, trying to see if I can follow these two dudes and what they're doing. Makes the groove all the more enjoyable to me.

Deathconscious
February 11th 2020


25353 Comments


havent heard this one, but from what i have heard, i can assume this band rules.

deadhottubbabies
February 12th 2020


2 Comments


was lucky enough to see them live before they disbanded. honestly a surreal experience. love this album

Trifolium
February 12th 2020


19320 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That assumption is correct.

Omg I would have been so happy seeing them live dude what the hell. Their live vids on YouTube look so amazing!!

parksungjoon
February 12th 2020


22403 Comments


deadhottubbabies
February 12th 2020


1 Comments

Trifolium
February 12th 2020


19320 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah it confused the hell out of me too. I gave this person the benefit of the doubt with the best ever first comment.

nightbringer
February 12th 2020


1495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Some sweet jams on this album. Thanks for putting me onto them Trif!

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2020


5434 Comments


That's a goodass review Trifo

Digging: Oneohtrix Point Never - Magic Oneohtrix Point Never

Trifolium
February 12th 2020


19320 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You're welcome nightbringer! We'll jam it until we drop!

Thanks dedex < 3

Here's the vid for the t/t https://youtu.be/2b0y-eIhJi0



Demon of the Fall
February 12th 2020


17291 Comments


Great review once again Trif. I'd seen these guys chilling out in the upper echelons of your ratings page and was quite curious. I haven't yet tracked down any of their material, but I'll get around to it eventually.

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - May Our Chambers Be Full

Trifolium
February 12th 2020


19320 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Demon, very interested to see whether you'd enjoy this or not.

Scheumke
February 12th 2020


1889 Comments


Great review buddy! It's "dutchies doing Japanese music reviews'' week xD. Never heard of these guys but will spin them for sure.

Digging: DGM - Tragic Separation

Trifolium
February 12th 2020


19320 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Haha yeah man, even without planning it too! Whaaaat!?

You've reviewed that Envy one. Don't know if it's my cup of sake (...ooops), what do you think?

Pheromone
February 12th 2020


8763 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review man. Checked this on your reccomendation a while back and it's still on rotation now. Good shit good shit

Digging: Lagwagon - Let's Talk About Feelings

Trifolium
February 12th 2020


19320 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awww yeah, happy you still enjoy it! And thanks, felt they really deserved at least one review here. They're too cool and I love them too much.

parksungjoon
February 12th 2020


22403 Comments


trif 4 contrib 2020

zakalwe
February 12th 2020


31853 Comments


Haven’t heard this one. I really enjoy collectivity and the follow up Roots.
Review is lovely. Nice one trif



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