If melodic instruments are conduits of Venusian emotion, then percussion is their direct Martian counterpart. While a sax can wail and cry its way through a performance, an equally impassioned drum solo is usually described in terms of brute force: ferocious, cataclysmic, tumultuous.
Which may be why a little single, “Hana,” from Japanese percussionist Asa-Chang and his group Junray has sent the London music press into a tizzy. And no, it’s has nothing to do with garage-rock. If anything, “Hana,” with its insinuating rhythms, poetic lyrics and gentle wash of burbling sound, is made for a lush garden or maybe a warm, soothing bath. The NME has called it “brilliant,” and BBC DJ and tastemaker John Peel has featured it regularly on his radio show. The London-based Leaf Label will release a compilation of Asa-Chang’s two albums this month.
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