Album Review of Takuya Kuroda's Fly Moon Die Soon by Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture Magazine

Takuya Kuroda, Fly Moon Die Soon – ALBUM REVIEW #28

Excellent news from (and for) the jazz microcosm: trumpeter and Berklee graduate Takuya Kuroda is back with Fly Moon Die Soon, his fifth album

Piri Piri (from his album The Rising Son) was our first encounter with Takuya Kuroda’s musical expression. This was already six years ago. As his album releases go by, we are delighted -but definitely not surprised- by the fact that Takuya didn’t lose any of his former spice along the way.

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Takuya Kuroda, Fly Moon Die Soon: our review

Crossroads

Brace yourself: Fly Moon Die Soon is the proud result of a self-given birthday gift of a unique kind. Back in 2018, Takuya allowed himself two days experimenting with sounds and surprising himself. All this at the heart of a recording studio in Brooklyn, in the enlightened company of sound engineer Todd Carder.

This bold and adventurous attitude has been delicately tattooed all along Fly Moon Die Soon, for better or for worse. But let’s be honest, it’s 99% for good. The percent left might concern those who expect a flawlessly seamless listening experience.

In Takuya’s own words:

I brought along some tracks I’d been building at home to see if we could complete them within that time. We began replacing sounds and adding texture, sampling noises from all over the studio; me sipping coffee, hitting a 26″ kick drum, speeding up snares. At the end of the two days we were like “wow, I didn’t know we could make tracks this good in this way”.

– Tayuka Koruda on the beginnings of Fly Moon Die Soon.

In A (relatively) Silent Way

While the clumsy comparison with Miles Davis‘ style seems inevitable, Takuya’s style on Fly Moon Die Soon is way more subtle. Controlled wildness? No. Measure? Yes.

I love Donald Byrd of course.

I love also so many other legends and many many musicians from our generations. I got the inspiration from everywhere. 

– Takuya Koruda

That being said, quietness is not what would resume the trumpeter’s approach best. Observing the tasty formula set by popular rock bands of the nineties like Pixies, Nirvana or Weezer, many are the song structures alternating between deliberate determination and polite discretion.

This way of arranging gives a common thread to the whole album, which might globally sound disjointed at first, but is definitely not once the listener’s understanding and expectations are set. From the presse release:

This album is about the irony between the greatness of nature and the beautiful obsceneness of humanity. Melodies and grooves fly back and forth from being spiritual to being vulgar.

– Takuya Koruda

Funk Get No Enemy

Soulful is an adjective often used to describe the music of Takuya Kuroda and his personality. Funk musican ever-evolving genre–  is definitely on the forefront of this album. If this influence is not always so obvious, this state of fact makes its presence much more enjoyable, because of subtlety once again. The album being deeply enriched with what would be (maybe awkwardly) called African rhythms, do not fear the intercultural “internal pulse” question, as explained by Leni Stern during a previous interview.

Since 2007, I have been playing in this Afrobeat band “Akoya” in Brooklyn.

It was such a great encounter with Afrobeat and Fela Kuti’s music, and immediately I became a big fan of that music. Great Afrobeat community there in NY, they are so warm and welcoming and taught me many things about the music. 

On a side note, this album gave us the occasion to discover a fanstatic Japanese guitar player going by the name of Satoshi Yoshida. His album “Memento” is not to be missed, just like his performance on ABC (listen below).

 

Fortune favors the bold as the saying goes. With Fly Moon Die Soon, Takuya Kuroda took measured risks at the service of his art, without forgetting himself or his fellow musicians along the way. His own enjoyment there is highly perceptible, and tastefully contagious. 

The listening pleasure will of course prolong once these nine colorful tracks penetrate your soul and arouse your curiosity.

Takuya Koruda, Fly Moon Die Soon

Available now on First Word Records.

Personnel

A lot of people, too many to list at once, trust us!

About Takuya Kuroda:

Takuya Kuroda, an ascendant trumpeter and composer, is perhaps best known for his inspired presence in vocalist José James’ band over the past several years.

In addition to anchoring James’ horn section, the 33-year-old Japanese-born, Brooklyn-based musician has been leading his own bands and has self-released and self-produced four previous albums. 

 

Website

Portrait of Takuya Koruda by Hiroyuki Seo
Courtesy of Hiroyuki Seo

Written by  Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture

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