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Kodu: Ibuki

Skilled purveyors of the Japanese taiko tradition, the popular group known as Kodo has done its share in spreading a sturdy musical culture throughout the world. Its latest album, Ibuki (TriStar 36852; 50:36), produced by Bill Laswell, is as strong as any yet released in the west, and includes a passage from a score for the 1995 film The Hunted. The pieces tend to reflect the external powers of nature vs. the internal pulse of human nature, and the connections thereof. The music is primarily linked to the primacy of drums, but there is a compelling duality involved: alternately driving and poetic, percussive and melodic, the music here contains both starkness and elegance.

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