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Asa-Chang And Junray is actually a trio comprising Koichi Asakura, tabla player U-Zhaan, and Hidehiko Urayama, a programmer who eschews live performances. The trio create an exotic and playful music that merges breathtaking futurism and time-honoured spirituality, juxtaposing virtuoso tabla playing and dissected, treated voices. Tokyo-based tabla guru and session percussionist Asakura likens this music to a Möbius strip linking nostalgia with experimentalism. He reportedly tours with multi-million selling J-Pop acts but says his own near-devotional music is best suited for the more low key environs of cafés, galleries and, intriguingly, hair salons. During a 2002 tour of their home country, Asakura and his collaborators even played a show at a Sake brewery. On tracks such as ‘Goo-Gung-Gung’, ‘Preach’, and the single ‘Hana’ - Japanese for ‘flower’ and a highlight from the trio’s 2002 debut album - Asa-Chang And Junray joyfully batter Eastern percussion, toys, horns, obsolete analogue equipment, strings and ‘rubbish’, into a babel of noise that is musically thrilling and emotionally disorientating. Issued by esoteric UK label Leaf, Jun Ray Song Chang compiled Asa-Chang And Junray’s Japanese releases to date including the Tabla Magma Bongo EP (released via Cornelius’ Trattoria label) and a mini-album released on Hot Cha Records.


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