Since the origins of jazz music in the West, various musical cultures showed a great interest towards the popular form and as a result seen the genre take on diverse musical routes and collaborations with other styles. My recent discovery and enthusiasm towards Mouse on the Keys has led me towards a similar band, Fox Capture Plan.
Similarly to Mouse on the Keys, one could make close comparisons to the Neil Cowley Trio. The classic jazz trio surface (consisting of piano, bass and drums) of Fox Capture Plan belies their music brimming with motoric rhythms, colourful harmonies and a prominent rock/pop buzz. ‘RISING’ captures this perfectly. The opening piano melody has a minimalist quality that sets the treadmill going, which is strengthened further by the bustling drums, bold bass line and also the rich left hand piano chords that provide harmonic substance. The track is full of musical colour from intricate jazzy melodies to extravagant syncopated chapters, progressing naturally at the trio’s desire (without the aid of clear-cut verse-chorus sections), stirring up an almost hypnotic ambience towards the end.
The clever detail about Fox Capture Plan’s sound world is the equilibrium between the infectious grooves of pulsating rock and their awareness for meticulous musical details. From an initial audible glance, 疾走する閃光 ‘Shissou suru Senkou’ (‘Dashing flash of light’) engages in a goal-oriented rock momentum decorated with melodies that perhaps evoke the qualities of Sakamoto Ryuichi. But with a closer listen and greater attention to detail, the song beholds a flurry of intricate rhythmic details, particularly the accents situated in the melody that create a similar effect to the repetitive and propulsive manner of minimalist music.
It is clear that the trio relish complexity, highlighted in tracks like ‘Primitive Mechanics’. While the simple drumbeat sustains a regular pulse, the piano plays a significant role as it engages in a predominantly syncopated affair. It opens with a neoclassical Fugue-like piano figure with ascending fifths marking out the offbeats. Some sonic interest is built up with faint stereo panning and what feels like subtle injections of EQ sweeps on the piano. With harmonic and melodic intricacies that perhaps evoke the urgency of free jazz married with the motoring force of progressive rock, this track leaves a lasting impression on the listener.
Fox Capture Plan finds a niche between creative tenacity and commercial appeal. The brand of music Fox Capture Plan and other similar bands have brought about in the Japanese music scene will continue to capture great interest from domestic and international audiences.
- Beyond the Beyond
- Attack on fox
- 衝動の粒子 Shoudou no Ryushi (‘The Particle of Impulse’)
- Born Slippy (Cover of song by Underworld)
© Isaku Takahashi