Ume in the Middle: 2009
Featuring On Ensemble’s unique combination of taiko, hip-hop, overtone singing, rock and electronica, Ume in the Middle was praised by reviewers as “a truly avant-garde experience” and “full of boundless imagination“.
Ukiyo Live: 2007
On Ensemble’s first live album. Recorded at UKIYO, the ensemble’s fourth annual home concert series, this album features two special guest artists; Montreal based multi-percussionist Patrick Graham and New York based fue specialist Kaoru Watanabe.
Dust and Sand: 2005
On Ensemble’s critically acclaimed debut album. Called “completely original and brilliantly conceived“, Dust and Sand reached as high as number 3 on the New Age Reporter charts and saw nationwide radio play from NPR’s Morning Edition to XM Satellite Radio.
MP3s of Live Performances
Works in Progress ’09
Every year we try to carve out time to be creative and work on new material. Usually it culminates in a “Works in Progress” concert and 2009 was our most successful to date thanks to our many supporters and FoundatiOn Team donors. Our special guest artists were Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba of Shasta Taiko who are Masato’s parents and Shoji and Maz’ first taiko teachers. Russel and Jeanne have had a profound influence on us as artists. Russel’s primary instrument is the Alto Sax which is featured on “Bizarre Heroes” where he’s joined by another frequent On Ensemble collaborator Kaoru Watanabe on the shinobue. These tracks represent the newest tracks we are working on in a very raw form.
The Untitled Concert
Here’s some more experimental improvisational music from a concert featuring Shoji Kameda on laptop, Kaoru Watanabe on fue, Chris Spilsbury on guitar, June Kuramoto on koto and dancer Cynthia Lee.
Triple Door: Recorded May 22nd 2008
These MP3s are from On Ensemble’s performance at the Triple Door, one of Seattle’s coolest little jazz clubs. We played at the Triple Door during our May 2008 Northwest tour that included stops in Bellingham, Seattle, Portland and Stanford. This performance features On Ensemble standards as well as newer pieces whose arrangement and parts we’re still tweaking.
Our live show continues to evolve, we’re always adding new songs, changing parts and re-arranging the pieces. Making and performing music is a constant process rather than a finished product: Nothing is permanent, nothing is complete, nothing is perfect.
Project GO: Recorded May 12-13 2006
Project GO marked the beginning of our collaborative relationship with Montreal based percussionist Patrick Graham. I met Patrick back in 2001 while living in Tokyo studying traditional music. I attended a workshop he was giving on Indian percussion at Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten’s Drum Museum in Asakusa. It was fantastic meeting another crazy artist traveling the world and it felt like we were on very similar paths.
Fast forward six years and thanks to Christiane Chaput and the staff at the Theatre La Chapelle we were finally able to work together. We spent a week collaborating and rehearsing and performed a series of three sold-out concerts together. It was the start of a great creative partnership. Patrick has been a huge influence on On Ensemble’s sound and he’s featured on our “UKIYO Live” CD as well as our upcoming studio album “Ume in the Middle”.
NEIRO: Recorded June 16-18 2005
These tracks were recorded at our second annual home concert series ON ’05 : NEIRO. During this time Maz was in Japan studying music and our group included Michelle Fujii and Yuta Kato. Michelle has since gone on to become the Artistic Director of Portland Taiko and Yuta now lives in Japan studying taiko and traditional Japanese music.
Neiro also featured guest artist Chris Spilsbusy on guitar. Originally “After Rain” was composed with electric guitar in mind and Chris plays an amazing solo on this version. We also recorded our first DVD at NEIRO which is available at CDBaby.com.