Weird Rhapsody: Tatsuya Yoshida's Splatter-Prog Thrash-Jazz

Prog rockers, meet your new favorite drummer. Post-punk noise freaks, prepare for the same. Avant-jazz people, get ready to respect someone who also excels at, well, prog and post-punk. For decades now, Japan's Tatsuya Yoshida has been the rare musician who knows how to bridge these diverse, equally strange worlds. The stop-start histrionics of his compositional approach -- one minute a thrashing march, the next minute a waltz, the next minute a free-for-all -- are at least consistent between his many, many (many) bands.

Yoshida first made his name in the Japanese noise rock drum/bass/vocals duo Ruins. Though the duo no longer plays together, Yoshida continues the entity as a solo act, making perhaps his strongest statements with the recent Ruins Alone album (dependent on a sampler system that he manipulates while playing drums live). But don't count out the skronk provided by the Sax Ruins, either.

For his most straight-up take on rock, see the track "Swan Dive" by the Yoshida-powered band Korekyojinn. For his jazz side, see Yoshida's appearance on bands led by pianist Satoko Fujii. For the most space-operatically gonzo track he has ever contributed to, try "Tziidall Raszhisst" by the band Koenjihyakkei. (Seriously, the band's vocalist sings real pretty before the stutter-swing madness kicks in.) Yes, these names and titles are hard to keep track of. That's why we made you the appended playlist! Over an hour and a half of prime Yoshida madness, at your service.

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