Fan Review: Overseas and Japanese fans review Kari Band’s CD “Kari Ongen – Demo”

Fans from Japan and overseas gathered on Newswire to share their impressions on Kami Band's side project "Kari Band" debut Album "Kari Ongen - Demo". The first effort of Kami Band members BOH, Mikio Fujioka and Yuya Maeta is reviewed by fans! Read the review below.


Fan Review: Kari Band's "Kari Ongen - Demo" CD

Maik Gianino, Newswire's Editor from Montevideo, Uruguay.

I'm not specialist in Jazz Fusion but I use to listen some playlists on Spotify once in a while. But what I actually like from "Kari Ongen - Demo" is that the full album is instrumental, no vocals at all which is for me very important since I really enjoy instrumental music of different genres. 


The Album starts with "Common Time's Logic", a beautiful song which features air instruments from the very beginning. Some parts of the song for me are sublime for example the last part and ending and how fades out slowly to the end until Chuku starts. This song is very relaxed, I really like it because of it. It's the kind of song I like to be the first track of an Album. 


The second song is "Chuku". Somehow I feel like this song describes the idea behind Kari Band. This is possible the most Jazz Fusion song of the album that's why I think is the most "Kari Band" song of the record. Bassist BOH shows his complete charm in a very nice way, not the aggressive 6 Strings God Of Bass we usually know. Then trumpets, Keyboard and Yuya's drumming bring you to a beautiful bridge to the end of the song lead by Mikio Fujioka's guitar solo which is as always incredible. 


After Chuku, starts "Ninja Groove". This title is interesting I think they tried to give a Japanese sense not also in the cover of the album also in some of the song titles but there is more than that. Ninja Groove is more aggressive than the previous songs. Mikio's guitar leads the song the whole time. The chorus of the song makes me headbang for a little not because of aggressiveness because of its own rhythm. Around 02:50 the song shows its hidden charm, makes you feel in a temple, reminds me "Tenchu" the Ninja Stealth Assassin video game.  


The song is probably the heaviest song of the record, "Djentleman" features the talents of Kari Band members all together but also solo. The song starts with a heart beating to go into a slow and quiet Yuya's drumming and then is followed by guitar and the super powerful bass of BOH. Yuya Maeta's drumming is very aggressive and his solo part is incredible, BOH's bass as I said powerful somehow I can imagine his face playing this song, doing his classic gestures. Mikio Fujioka's solo is wonderful, starts being nice and shy and then is transformed in a aggressive and very fast guitar solo to fade into the last part of the song. This is probably one of the most favorite songs among BABYMETAL fans since its sound is more related with BABYMETAL's sound. 


Jazz Fusion returns in "Jamrika". Love Ai Kuwabara's Keyboard. She owns this song, since the body of the song is focused on her followed by the Kari Band members the Keyboard sound is completely in front this time. The last half of the song all instruments melt into one to create a complete wall of noise, totally incredible and enjoyable. I recommend a good set of headphones to listen this song in particular. 


The last song of the Album is from my point of view the best song of the record. BOH said in an interview with DiskUnion that he created the beginning of this song in rehearsals and then let Mikio to create the rest of the song with Yuya Maeta. This is a complete and beautiful journey from the snowny Asahikawa from BOH belongs to the rest of the world reaching each fan hearts in Japan and overseas. This song makes me feel peace and very emotional inside, I completely love this song. 


All in all, this Album is awesome even if you are not related with this genre you are going to enjoy some or all songs without any problems. If you didn't give a chance to "Kari Ongen - Demo" please take 25 minutes of your life to listen this wonderful effort by the Kami Band members. 



Hitoshi Sugioka, Newswire's from Tokyo, Japan.: 

I'm fan of Metal and not very related with other different genres in music. I tend to listen some rock bands once in a while but besides that nothing different, I think Metal has enough different styles to keep my mind busy listening. Well, I like Sakura Gakuin but that's a different story. Why I'm listening Kari Band new album? Because they are part of BABYMETAL, I don't think I would go to Tower Records Shinjuku to get their Album if there were not related with BABYMETAL. I mean, not because of them, because of the genre, I'm not related with it. 


Now, after listening the album several times I must say that their creation overpassed my expectations. I wasn't expecting a bad album of course not because I know they are amazing musicians but I was expecting a clash between my concepts about Metal music and a new sound called Jazz Fusion. But that never happend, accepted them playing Jazz from the very beginning. After listening the first time I though "Ok I like Djentleman only", because is the most powerful, but then realized after so many listens that the Album is a beautiful piece of music. I still think "Djentleman" is the best song or perhaps my favorite song. The rest of the songs are awesome and beatiful specially "Ninja Groove". I like Ninja in general so I feel related with this song too. 


I'm very interested to know how they sound live and how many songs they play aside the songs included in their Album. I was told they play covers too so I'm looking forward to see Kari Band live someday soon!


BOH san, Mikio san and Yuya san my congratulations on your effort and success with Kari Band!



Miguel Herrera from Bogota, Colombia. 

Okay, first off, my name is Miguel Herrera (tho you can call me Mike), i’m from Colombia, and i’m a mucisian. Not so long ago i was a quite good Babymetal (and therefore the Kami Band) fan, and although i haven’t been following the band as much lately as i once did, i am pretty familiar with their job and of course with the awesome stuff Maeta, Boh and Mikio can deliver. So with that said, why don’t we start with my personal review of this EP.


1. Common Time’s Logic: Like i said, i was pretty familiar with the job of this trio as Babymetal musicians, and because of that, boy was i surprised with the way they open this EP.  Common Time’s logic starts preciously with a name that calls out my attention straight away, and if you think that’s the only good thing abut this song you’re so wrong. To begin with, i was not expecting the presence of other instruments in this record and this song is a great example of the awesome stuff you can do without the need of high amounts of electronical help.


The song itself has a glorious beat and Mikio really shines throughout the song with some tasty guitar licks that drives you from start to finish, and speaking of endings this son is algo a great expample of a simple yet glorious ending that leaves you thinking if something huge is about to happen. And guess what? It is.


2. Chuku: Again Mikio takes the lead at the very beggining of this song, he’s pretty much letting you know who you’re dealing with, and Boh and Maeta do an amazing job following his lead with a bass that follows the guitar lines just to add some spicy flavour here and there and later get in the front line with a beautiful solo followed by some jazz action and a drum beat that makes my musician panties to drop so hard. This song is mesmerizing from its very beginning and the guitar solo at the end is just that glorious end you would want for a song that has so many changes. Something you would expect from the talent of this incredible musicians. 


3. Ninja Groove: Well the name pretty much summarizes what this song is all about, its got one of those grooves that are just that amazing and you can’t really tell who’s taking the lead at the very beginning, tho Mikio strikes again with some insanely solos between the main Groove part. But we don’t wanna talk only about Mikio, do we? Maeta shines right here with the amazing job he does following the guitar with the exquisite drumming he’s known for. As a drummer, i cannot stress enough how great and impressive his job is during this song, he gives it that groovey sensation and pretty much tells you why they chose the name of Ninja Groove for this amazing track, overall, this is one of my favorites from the record, and if you’re into that jazzy/bluesy style of music with amazing changes, you’ll probably love it just as well, but don’t worry metal fans, if heavy was the Word you were looking for in this record, Kari Band has your back and trust me, we have a LOT to talk about for the next song.


4. Djentleman: “You want heavy? Kari Band gives you heavy baby!” Was literally the first thing i thought when this song started, and holy shit! Is this song amazing. If you were looking to headbang with this record here’s your chance my friend. This song starts kicking you right in the throat with an insane riff by Mikio, then Maeta comes in later to let you know what a blast beat sounds like and let me tell you i’m not a huge death metal fan, but his drumming is so insanely fast he might just changed my point of view about that subgenre, followed by the one and only Boh making those bass players trickle and wonder if they will ever be capable of playing like this (Spoiler: they won’t). Now let me be clear, Mikio does an amazing job in this song as well, but at this point i think we all know what he’s capable of, and Boh and Maeta are just so good and are the ones that make this song so absolutely brutal, visceral and headbang worthy, this is the kind of song you blast in your car with no remorse of killing someone on your way to job. Metal fans rejoice, this song was made for you!.


5. Jamrika: What can i say? At this point i was pretty much impressed with the entire record, and this song just didn’t have something amazing as the previous ones when i listened to it the first time. But just like many great things in life, you just need to take some time to appreciate them to their fullest.


After the beast of a song Djentleman, this song drives you home with a chill beginning that makes you think of some clear jazz influences, and then they flip the table and really start doing some work at the very end with guitar solos and amazing drumming, so clearly i was gladly surprised with this track, the simple fact that you don’t know what’s going to happen is good enough to force you to listen to the whole damn thing trying to predict the next change and fail miserably to the amazing talent of this trio. You don’t get a lead or a clear frontman in this one, what you get is complete awesomeness and the purest state of the art music, people that clearly know what they’re doing and how to deliver a message, dear god these guys are amazing. 


6. Snowflaks: When you’re this deep into the record, you clearly are not expecting this kind of change of pace, at least i wasn’t, but it was brilliant! That slow start is so beautiful, so beautiful and peaceful is hard to think two songs ago you were headbanging your neck off and now you’re contemplating the meaning of life at the rhythm of this gorgeous masterpiece. If you know me (Which you don’t) you’d know that slow songs win my heart, and this one did it big time. It also made me think how good these guys and John Mayer would sound making some stuff together, but that’s another story.


What i can tell you about this song is that i could NOT have imagined a better end for this EP, mainly Boh’s line at the very end, so peaceful, so graceful. Listening to this record was definitely a rollercoaster of emotions, and this track is like the peace after the storm, it just brings you home man. By far! The greatest of the record in my opinion, but hey that’s just me.


Overall, when you write a review you shouldn’t say only good stuff about whatever subject you’re writing about, but this record is just that good, and the only bad thing i can think about is that it only has 6 song. Musically speaking it’s brilliant, and what else could you expect from these guys!? They’re just that good, and i can tell you i will be waiting for a full record release from this amazing trio. As a musician i look for moments, experiences that help me write songs, and listening to this is like reading someone’s diary, it just feels natural, human, poetic and yet visceral, angry, brutal and complex at the same time, just like life is.


I honestly hope you enjoy this EP as much as i did, and please let me know your thoughts, which was your favorite song? You already know which was mine. This was Miguel Herrera for Babymetal Newswire, i’ll be reading your comments!.





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Disk Union Solo interview with BOH [The Kari Ongen – Demo]

Translated for reference purposes only.

Please refer to the original Japanese article here

The release of the first mini album of the Kari band – ‘The Kari Ongen – Demo’. 

We have the ‘Kari Band’ 6-string bassist, BOH-san here to talk freely about this band that has spanned the entire world with its dynamic sound. 

The session unit ‘Kari Band’ composed of Fujioka Mikio (guitar), BOH (bass) and Maeda Yuuya (drums) which was launched in November of 2015 has at long last released its first mini album titled, ‘Kari Ongen -DEMO’. 

From live houses with a scale where the venue is filled by a few dozen fans to the arenas and stadiums that are considered to be the largest venues on the planet…… This band featuring some of the most talented artists in the world has experienced all this and all in between and has released their heart filled album featuring their original songs putting them up for an evaluation of their worth. ‘Kari Ongen -DEMO’ composed of these members who have garnered attention because of their virtual Heavy Metal god inspired performances along with guest artists such as Calmera, Nishiwaki Tatsuya, ISAO as well as rapidly up and coming pianist, Kuwahara Ai is certain to be met with enthusiastic approval from Jazz Fusion fans around the world. 

Our ‘Music Magazine’’s May features the interview that we carried out with the Kari Band, but here we would like to provide you with our solo interview with BOH-san. Coincidentally we were both born in the year of the dog and both come from Asahikawa city in Hokkaido so we felt like friends right from the git-go. I was so thrilled and happy to have received an instant approval to do another interview at another time centering on Jazz/Fusion and our shared home town. 


BOH-san, when you were a student where were you purchasing musical instruments and CDs and so on? When I (Harada) was a student the only place selling musical instruments in my home town of Asahikawa was Machii Gakki (closed in 1997). And for records there was really only ‘Kokuhara’ (closed in 2008) located in the building that housed the ramen shop, ‘Baikouken’, or ‘Gyokkoudou’ (since relocated in the suburbs) located in the basement of the department store ‘OKUNO’. 


Mostly I made use of Gyokkoudou’ and Shimamura Gakki (Musical instruments). 


Did you like music from an early age?


Actually, in fact it would be better to say that I didn’t like music (laughs). My mother worked as a music teacher at an elementary while my father worked in the market and served as the conductor of the Asahikawa city choir as a way to be of benefit to the community. When I was a little boy I was made to go to the city youth choir club as well as music school and so I came to hate music. Of course I did – it is not ‘wild’, you know. Growing up in Asahikawa it was just a natural progression of things that I would want to become a member of the Self Defense Force. 


That is because the 7th division of the Japanese Imperial Army was located in Asahikawa in the past. About 1/2 of my classmates from elementary school were children of Self Defense Force members. 


Yes, in summer vacation I would head out into the mountains and stay there for like a full week with only a supply of rice. I was always doing things like that as I wanted to get into that feeling of being in survival mode. However, there was this time that I went to a culture festival in Jr. High where my Senpai were performing and the girl I had gone there with said to me, ‘BOH-chan, do you play some kind of instrument?’. At the time I didn’t play anything so could only answer honestly that I was not able to play an instrument, to which she responded, ‘Oh, that is so uncool.’. The fact that she wasn’t even a cute girl just made me even more angry at her reaction. If that had been said to me by a cute girl I would have been shocked but since it was her I felt more anger than shock. Kind of the sense of, ‘Fine, I will transform myself into someone who is not uncool’, I went over to my friend’s house to give a guitar a try. Doing so, I felt this instrument with 6 stings and the way you had to work to make the chords was really off-putting. The bass, on the other hand, had only 4 strings, it was easier to play and you could look and sound good even with its monophonic sounds. Soon I was pumped up thinking, ‘I am simply the best!’ and from that point on I just got more and more into playing the bass. 

I am pretty sure that I was at first playing a score of Luna Sea that I had bought, and that was their ‘True Blue’ (released in 1994). My trip on this path started with me thinking, ‘I have just bought a bass but I am already almost as good as the professionals. This certainly means that the music gods are telling me to <become a bass player>’. I was interested in Western music and expanded my adventures into MR. BIG and came to like Billy Sheehan and that interest in the bass led me to be impressed with Victor Wooten, who I thought was amazing, and that further led me to ‘wonder how Marcus Miller was able to produce such amazing sounds. This furthered pursuit gradually led me in my high school years to listen to more jazz and fusion music. Also, at this time, my younger brother was into Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple and other bands from the 60’s and 70’s and so I was also influenced by these bands as well.


What was the first work by Victor Wooten that you got your hands on?


That was a VHS of ‘Live at Bass Day’ 

When I was wondering if there was another ridiculously talented bassist out there after being so moved by Bill Sheehan, I was lucky enough to find this video in a video section of a music shop. The way he has his hands placed on the bass in the picture on the jacket is so obviously strange, you know. This got me interested in finding out just what he was doing. That is the reason I bought that album. As far as his albums go, I really like ‘Show of Hands’ (1997). 


The first band I heard with Billy Sheehan was ‘Talas’. I was labeled using his name in Katakana, ’ビリーシーハン’ <Billy Sheehan>. 



Counting back from MR. BIG’s best album (1996), I was also listening to performances from Talas and the David Lee Roth Band. I did not know of anyone else who was able to do such interesting phrasing as a rock bassist. It was extremely interesting to hear his different approach when he played rock in such endeavors as when he teamed up with Dennis Chambers in the fusion band, Niacin. The first bassist for me to carry out phrase analysis on was the bass player, Billy Sheehan. 


What other fusion type of bassists did you listen to? 


I was totally blown away by ‘Jaco Pastorius’s Word of mouth’. I couldn’t believe that these were sounds made by a bass. I also liked Stanley Clarke, Jeff Berlin, Stuart Hamm and  Nathan East. I was also later very drawn by the approaches taken by the guitar work of Brian Bromberg and I thought the vocals of Richard Bona were also wonderful. Added to that I was moved by the artist that it would not be an exaggeration to say created the 6-string bass, Anthony Jackson. He personally calls it the contrabass however. And his trio with Michel Camilo and Horacio Hernandez was absolutely outstanding. I got hints about performing slap playing mostly from Marcus Miller 



Not from Victor Wooten?


Wooten has kind of an acrobatic approach to slapping. The way he does slapping I feel is not the usual way one thinks about it where he kind of scratches the strings will all of his fingers. Marcus’ way of slapping is more of a building up of a foundation for the sound and his ‘backing’ is also fantastic. 


To return to your story…after you so impressed by Victor Wooten and Billy Sheehan, you made your way to Tokyo at last. 


From the time I was in High school I was saying that ‘in the future I will go to Tokyo and debut in a band’. My mother however felt that, ‘if you go to Tokyo and try to get into music while doing part time jobs will just play around with nothing to show for it’, and suggested that I enroll in a music school. I took her up on that and entered the Human Academy Music College in Aoyama, Tokyo. It is no longer in existence however. Upon entering I found out that there a lot of really good players (laughs). Most of the teachers were studio musicians and it was then that I learned that there are other ways to go about making a living at music other than debuting in a band and that led me think that I wanted to be a musician who could work doing sessions and as a back band performer. It was a 2-year program but I went on to be an instructor there after I graduated. After that I started to get a lot of offers from outside the school of people asking me, ‘hey, could you play for us?’, and it was during this time that I met DAITA-san, the guitarist for Siam Shade. At the beginning, I worked as a supporting bassist for the unit BINECKS that DAITA-san and KEITA had formed but later they said to me, ‘we are going to make our major debut and would like you to join as a member’. So, I became a member of BINECKS toward the end of 2007. I had no interest in making a major debut but they were my Senpai and all that, so I couldn’t really turn them down (laughs). 


When did you start playing mainly on a 6-string bass?


When I had first arrived in Tokyo I was of course playing a 4-string bass, but this extremely bothersome and rather scary teacher at the music school said to me, ‘Omae, your going to have to play a 6-string bass’. After summer vacation had finished and classes had started up again I still did not have a 6-string bass and that teacher got really angry at me – ‘Why do you not do as I tell you! I told you to buy a 6-string bass. Get one and bring it here!’. And so, I bought cheap 6-string bass. At the time I couldn’t really play the guitar nor the piano very well as the classes devoted to chords were rather hard to follow. But with the 6-string bass I was able to play the chords, making it easier to follow along with the classes and I was able to digest music theory as well as chord study much more than I had been able to do before. So, I started to think, ‘hmm, this 6-string bass is a good thing’. Additionally, I was told by a cute woman teacher that, ‘since there are very few back band bassists in Japan using mainly a 6-string bass you will be able to become a 6-string representative for Japan if you work at it from right now’ (laughs). From that point on to now I have been playing the 6-string bass. I only have one 4-string bass in my possession at the moment. I have been playing the 6-string for a long time now and am very used to it. It is very interesting to play and I don’t get asked to play a 4-string anyway. 


So it is kind of like, ‘If you need a 6-sting bassist, ask BOH-san’?


I think the people in the industry know, ‘if you ask for BOH, you know what you will get’. And I don’t know why it is, but I get asked almost exclusively to perform difficult pieces. It is not that I personally like difficult songs though. The other day when we finished recording ‘Chuku’ in a 13 time/beat (?) as the Kari Band I got an offer to perform in 13 time/beat for another band. I have gotten extremely good at this 13 time/beat so I am sure the day will come when people will say, ‘that guy is incredibly good playing in a 13 time/beat, but for quadruple time…not so much’ (laughs). 


On the Kari Band’s, ’Kari Ongen – Demo’ album you can really fully enjoy BOH-san’s 6-string bass playing. In addition to ‘Chuku’ that came up in the discussion a bit earlier, the tapping performance in ‘Ninja Groove’ is amazing and the tranquil riff in ‘Snowflakes’ is truly impressive. 


The foundation for ‘Snowflakes’ came from a phrase that came to me when I was practicing the bass in my home when I was a student. It is a riff of the Lydian scale (a scale where 4 degrees of the major scale have been raised up a semitone) that came to me due to being really into the guitar of Steve Vai at the time. If you delve into Billy Sheehan you always arrive at Steve Vai. I got really interested in this scale that he used that is kind of hard to determine if it has a good feel to it or actually a kind of bad feel and looking into it I found it was the Lydian scale that he was using.  I remembered being really impressed with myself for this really cool phrase that came to me at this snow covered park in Asahikawa. During the recording I was constantly repeating this scale over and over, it is actually really easy. The rest of the parts of this song I left entirely to Fujioka-sensei (Fujioka Mikio). (laughs)


In your Kari Band live shows you do a cover of Mike Stern’s ‘Chatter’ (included on the 2003 album, ‘These Times’), but the songs on this album are all original pieces, right?


The Kari Band is a session band and we started out just bringing together the songs that each of us liked. In the live shows we do quite a bit of cover songs. The inclusion of ‘Chatter’ was the idea of our drummer, Maeda Yuuya. 


With 6 songs on the ’Kari Ongen – Demo’ album it is treated as a mini album, but their is a myriad of music and sounds, and the contents are really dense. Also, the jacket is so overpowering. 


Yes, it is an instrumental album that has the feel of us the members who all like jazz and fusion getting together and performing what we most want to play at the moment. As for the jacket, right from the outset we said to ourselves, ‘lets go with a real Japanese look’. We have gotten a lot of messages of interest about the release of the album from people overseas as well and so I think this kind of jacket will be met with pleasure by people overseas (laughs). Also, there probably aren’t too many albums with a ‘Japanese style jacket’ in the Jazz/Fusion section of music stores. I am looking forward to the reaction it stirs and how it looks when it hits the record shops.