Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2010

Courtesy of East Works Entertainment

Courtesy of East Works Entertainment

Japan’s most prolific saxophonist is back with a work scored for a hypothetical ballet. When he’s not accompanying divas like UA or working the crossover crowd with his Dub Sextet, Kikuchi is capable of some pretty heady stuff. Here again with what he calls his “strange lounge orchestra,” the reedman takes mainstream jazz as a starting point but soon veers off into avant-garde dissonance and exotic instrumentation. The album opens with the busy Latin percussion of “Killing Time” before giving way to the ethnic accordion flavors of the title track, and then a fraught opera number in the form of the “When I am Laid in Earth” aria from Dido and Aeneas. “Procession,” on the other hand, is as playful as a frisky kitten about to bite you. In sum: an album as eclectic, rambunctious and fractious as the city for which it’s named.