Listeners who are familiar with Koji Asano's concert music may be surprised to hear him pick up a guitar and rock out, but that's just what he does on Takoyakikun
, abetted by keyboardist Isao Otake and drummer Hisashi Nagata. "No. 1" and "No. 3" combine speedy riffs with a neo-prog ambience, while "No. 2" sounds like it was hijacked from the court of latter-day King Crimson. The trio excels at playing lightning fast coordinated riffs with impressive accuracy. The mood turns more quixotic on "No. 4", which juxtaposes sprightly organ licks with an authoritative ostinato passage somewhat reminiscent of Fox Trot
-era Genesis (as does the syncopated "No. 7"). Motoric minimalism takes center stage on the quirky "No. 6", while Asano and Otake compete to fill each measure with successively more 32nd notes on closer "No. 8".
Asano is a chameleonlike figure, able to assume many different musical guises and modes of presentation. His recent avant-classical compositions are more sophisticated work, but Takoyakikun offers something far more rare: a tantalizing glimpse of Asano at his most fun-loving and reckless.