Yenbanwa “Into The Dragon’s Triangle” | Hiroxi Morita (Omniversal Music Research)
When I got in the double cd album Into The Dragon’s Triangle from the three piece progressive rock and early 70′s fusion revival band Yenbanwa, I couldn’t help but have to pick my jaw up from the ground from how much the record sounded like Jimi Hendrix in the year of 1970. As a huge fan of what Hendrix was doing in front in the light and behind the scenes, he was a musician who was starting to blend music into a very rich state that bridged jazz, rock blues and a spiritual state that has been unmatched. Yenbanwa taps into this same cosmic energy Hendrix had gathered in his last year of making records and blasts into the future with a vibratory and powerful statement. Featuring guitar maverick Morita Hiroxi, bassist Weno Shunmey and drummer Okada Masaki, the three have extended the Hendrix framework for note patterns and blistering solo work into something just as timeless and unique in expression. Outside of the strumming patterns and notes that you could parallel to many Hendrix pieces, the freedom and expression rises in a similar fashion. I can’t tell how you much this sounds like Hendrix and with good taste and proper respect to finding their own pathway inside of what Hendrix created.
The album starts with the piece “Escape Beyond”. There is no better way to start an album than to get right to the point. Into The Dragon’s Triangle begins with a screaming blast of feedback and launches into a slow burning fusion excursion of palm muting, wah wah and a stunning display of rhythmic strumming. The bass and drums are endlessly locked into groove as the guitar dances around the tightly placed rhythms. Slanted in an electric blues and fusion form, “Escape Beyond” lets up for nothing to hammer out mind blowing part after part. Guitar, bass and drums are a classic set up, one that is slowly loosing its control as more people become isolated with hardware, computers and the rest. To hear a record where three guys are cutting away into intricate forms of vibratory expression is exactly what I needed this year.
A pleasant and really chilled out twist in the album comes with the piece “Pink Clouds, Turquoise Sky”. With an embryonic excursion into a very subdued electric fusion blues, this is one of those exploratory songs that has some of the most soulful solo’s of the album. The intro has that really dreamy blues feel and allows the track to build in the most natural way. As the rhythm is set in place and the track evens out, the guitar solo’s are breath taking. The blues has never sounded more alive in recent times than it does on “Pink Clouds, Turquoise Sky”. You can hear them display so much passion and expression that it becomes intoxicating. With the first disc running through a plethora of guitar heavy tracks, the second disc is no different and extends the lengths of their compositions considerably. The second disc of Into The Dragon’s Triangle is pure jamming bliss with four songs that come in at a little over an hour. Track to track, you hear a group of musicians just cutting away at something very pure. It has to be mentioned again, it’s overwhelming when I hear how close to Hendrix the guitar tone is from Yenbanwa.
If you are looking for unfiltered, pure vibrations in the name of electric blues, fusion, rock and jazz, don’t look any further than the musings found all over Into The Dragon’s Triangle.
Download “ITDT” on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dragons-triangle/id536829642