Legendary Japanese avant-punk vocalist Yoshimi of Boredoms (immortalized as a battler of Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips) joins forces with a trio of exceptional instrumentalists as SAICOBAB to create album SAB SE PURANI BAB, an adventurous full-length fusion of traditional Indian and Japanese music filtered through their wild modern sensibilities.
Yoshida Daikiti lays down a foundation of thoroughly janked-out sitar riffs for his bandmates to dance around, which they do most ably. Akita Goldman (double bass) and Motoyuki Hamamoto (percussion, gamelan) are as nimble as they are tight as a rhythm section, and Yoshimi frolics in step effortlessly, singing, yelping, intoning, shrieking — whatever the muse coaxes from her vocal chords — with assured precision and exquisite expression, if not always the strictest application of pitch control.
The seven lengthy pieces that make up SAB SE PURANI BAB ("the most ancient baby girl") are the band's take on numerologically-informed ragas, and in keeping with tradition, were recorded live. However, a judicious amount of studio tricky is applied to great effect on a number of tracks.
Bizarrely infectious and never dull, this album of anarchistic yet spiritually reverent psychedelic experimental ragas is well worth checking out. (Thrill Jockey)