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This heavenly voices duo is formed by Chako and Makoto Hattori and hail from Japan. They have been creating their beautiful and haunting music since 1989. Though they reside in Japan, their first albums were released in Germany and are currently signed with the prominent heavenly voices label Prikosnovenie where they have released several of their albums over the years. Though they do play several shows in Hong Kong, they remain mostly unkown in their own country. However, their fame has spread far and wide across the world. They are heard on various radio shows and known among fans of goth, ethereal, ambient and related genres world-wide.

Though it's 2008 when we're first writing about this phenomenal band, as Gothic Paradise Ethereal radio listeners can tell, we have been die-hard fans of Jack Or Jive for many years. I was first introduced to the band with their album Kismet which is still one of my favorite albums. Since then we've also featured the music of Chako and her solo work from her album Ebb & Flo. With tracks from albums like Kismet, Muyjo, Kenka, The Earth and their latest work Kakugo, fans have heard plenty of tracks from this band over the years on the radio show.


Kakugo - Review

It's so nice to finally sit down and review an album from this band that has been a favorite for so long. This album is about the band's twelfth official full-length album and the maturity and creativity shines through with incredible brilliance. Like many of their other albums, the abstract artwork matches well with the experimental ambient and ethereal structures of the music and heavenly vocals. All of this together on a set of a dozen spellbinding tracks spanning nearly an hour.

It's extremely hard to describe the music from this band, especially in such a way that will portray how utterly beuatiful and captivating it is. The vocals are haunting and I don't understand them, and I read in an interview once that the lyrics aren't even Japanese, but I guess you can use your imagination to derive the meaning behind the Chako's beautiful voice whether it's on the slow, militaristic piece "War Scapes" or the somber, ambient piece "Principles of Positive and Negative". I would like to simply say that it's Chako's voice that captures the listener, but as beautiful as it is, it just wouldn't be true, because without the wide array of musical backdrops, the full sound just is not complete.

The album takes on the mood of "Kakugo" as explained by Chako in the cd liner notes of "think of death and don't do honorless acts in everyday life". This is expressed through the mournful cries of several tracks that hold the listener at the edge of tears, whether it's meant to be that way or not, I don't know, but the music and vocals really pull at the emotional heartstrings. The ending of "Shot Arrow" brings this to a climax and shows how the unique vocal structures and outright final scream can be as angelic as the softest and subtle tones. Each track becomes a favorite with the power and unique nature of the mix of the haunting ambient music as a backdrop to the vocals. I don't know what more can be said without taking each track in depth. And naming favorites is impossible as this album has one spellbinding track right after the other. In the end I can't recommend this latest work enough, for fans new and old, this album is one of the best picks of the year.

Rating: 5/5



Website: www.jackorjive.com
Label: Prikosnovenie

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