New Music: DUO

Nabowa’s latest release eases you into a musical mood with an opening track typical of previous albums: a lively, earthy instrumental groove rich with textures, infectious melodies and pleasing bridges. But with the second track, you quickly understand what this album is about. The quartet has previously collaborated with other musicians and singers, notably Motoharu and Naoito, but never with such deliberate focus and variety.

Conscious of having to provide space in some songs for lyrics, the band approaches songwriting in ways they are perhaps not accustomed to, but the effect is certainly not Nabowa-lite. Their maturing skills are on full display and one instrumental track later in the album showcases the deepening funk directions they have explored of late. The singing on the album from somewhat obscure vocalists is idiosyncratic and not for everyone. Then again, what’s for everyone? The CD almost seems to be saying, challenge your tastes! It’s like a quirky old wine, well worth the sip.


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