you've ever heard a taiko performance, you know that the rumble of these
traditional Japanese drums fills the air with waves of primal force. But the beats
of Gocoo go further, creeping into your body, taking control. You feel the urge
to stand up and dance. The rhythms sweep away tradition and inhibition, and you
begin to move to the beat.
A 13-member group founded by Kaoly Asano in
1997, Gocoo debuted at a techno music festival, Rainbow 2000, the same year. Often
performing at clubs in Tokyo and Yokohama, the group has made several tours to
the US and Europe. At one festival, UK psychedelic techno unit Juno Reactor approached
Asano after hearing their performance. The meeting led to a collaboration that
eventually found its way onto The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack as "Teahouse."
comes as no surprise to those familiar with the power of Gocoo's sound.
Transcending traditional taiko, Asano has led Gocoo to the forefront of neo-traditional
music. "We don't use any sheet music when we create our songs. Someone
begins with a rhythmic phrase, and it grows from there, uninhibited by traditional
rules," Asano says. "None of us have any real formal training, and
that sets us free to explore the sound of the taiko drum." Often accompanied
by a variety of percussion instruments including cymbals and Chinese gongs, as
well as by didgeridoo virtuoso Goro, Gocoo is free to create music that blends
a range of world traditions with modern rhythms.
In fact, their music is
frequently compared to trance, and their performances bear more in common with
Tokyo's club scene than with the run-of-the-mill traditional Japanese taiko
gigs. "We always encourage our audiences to get up and dance," Asano
says. "In the past, matsuri (traditional festivals) often included taiko
music that would enliven the atmosphere and make people want to dance. Of course,
there was a religious component to the so-called traditional matsuri, but clubs
and raves aren't all that different. The sound of the taiko has a tremendous
power. The music's beat flows through the body and compels you to move.
You feel it with your body. By reinventing the taiko, I hope to recapture the
fun and lively atmosphere of the old matsuri." Ian Chun
group will release their second live DVD, GOCOO Live 02, on July 21 on Beacon
Productions. Info: www.gocoo.tv.
Gocoo will be kicking off the release with a concert at beachside restaurant/café
Blue Moon in Isshiki Beach, Kanagawa. Tel: 0468-75-3293. Info: www.bluemoonhayama.com