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Rovo



If you thought there was no chance you'd ever again hear music that sounded genuinely new, different, unique, and totally out of this world, Rovo's going to change your thinking. The Japanese sextet, featuring members of the Boredoms, Dub Squad, Demi Semi Quaver, Bondage Fruit, Bazooka Joe, and other Japanese underground outfits, offers a sound so new, different, unique, and out of this world that reviewers like this one get tongue-tied trying to describe it.

Analog comes crashing into digital in Rovo's world. Extraordinarily complex, heavily layered breakbeats form the blueprints with which the group erects its marvelous sound structures. Then Rovo throws in guitar, electric violin, fierce tribal percussion, and sometimes even flute and clarinet -- though you may not recognize them as such, they're so thoroughly distorted -- and a host of stunning effects that blur the disparate elements into a single continuum. Dub and drum and bass may be the influences you spot first, as the hard polyrhythms tend to rise to the fore, but hints of free improv, Krautrock, and spacey far, far-out psych abound. The instrumental compositions which result feel highly spontaneous, incredibly energizing, and truly beautiful, in a sophisticated yet deeply primal way. Listen with headphones for full effect -- there are a lot of sounds here, and you won't want to miss a single one.

Guitarist Seiichi Yamamoto (Boredoms), violinist Yuji Katsui (Demi Semi Quaver, Bondage Fruit), and synthesizer/effects technician Tatsuki Masuko (Dub Squad) started Rovo in Tokyo in 1996. Originally the group was sort of a space-rock group, before gradually developing their unique style of "man-driven trance," as it has sometimes been called. The epic Imago, released in 1999, was their first full album, though several shorter releases preceded it. Pyramid has since followed it. The amazing tracks "N'Dam" and "Horses" appear on Imago.