"The joy, the depth, the originality: simply put, there’s nothing like Alo out there."
Bandcamp - This week's essential releases
"Afro groove and Ohayashi are woven together so seamlessly that Ajate has managed to capture a distinct fusion. Alo is a great example of the way sounds are able to migrate in contemporary music."
The Vinyl Factory - 10 favourite new vinyl releases
"A superb and unusual hybrid of African meets traditional Japanese music."
"Delightful & grooving Japanese Afro-Funk album!"
Three years after their critically acclaimed and sold out Abrada LP the great and joyful Japanese afro groovers Ajate are back with their much awaited brand new album Alo!
Ajate is a Japanese band who plays a unique blend of afro-groove dance music mixed with Japanese traditional festival music called "Ohayashi". Formed in 2011 by the band-leader John Imaeda, Ajate consists of 10 Japanese musicians.
Another unique feature of the band is the use of hand-made bamboo instruments as well as traditional Japanese percussion. The "Jahte" is a bamboo-made xylophone or balafon with a piezo pick-up mic attached to each key, connected to a pre-amplifier to obtain a loud sound and to add some touch of dirty distortion to its warm and natural acoustic sonority. The "Piechiku" is also a bamboo-made string instrument inspired by the west-African "Ngoni" or Moroccan "Guembri" instruments. The Piechiku uses strings of the Japanese traditional "Shamisen". This instrument is also played through a pre-amplifier and John sometimes adds some wah-wah effect to it. All these bamboo instruments are designed, made and named by John Imaeda himself.
On Alo you will also be amazed by the exceptional sound of the Japanese Shinofue flute, which was not on the previous Abrada LP.
Now, add to this unique sound some well-crafted Japanese female and male singing and you get a killer mix of Afro-Funk flavored grooves with traditional Japanese music!
Since the release in 2017 of their Abrada LP on the 180g label Ajate has toured Europe twice and has played a memorable concert at the world famous Trans Musicales festival in France in 2018, which has been followed by another great KEXP Live session.
Here is some music you will not be able to hear anywhere else, by one of the most joyful Japanese band to hear on record and to listen live!
180GLP04 - Manufactured and distributed by 180g.