KODO – TOGETHER

DRUMMING US OUT OF LOCKDOWN

As the world emerges from lockdown longing for a grand restart moment, and as Japan prepares to host the delayed 2020 Olympic Games, we’re really excited to launch our latest P&S culture project. KODO – TOGETHER is a timely collaboration between the iconic taiko drummers of Kodo and leading global artists, producers, DJs and vocalists.

Elkka, Rufus Wainwright, Kevin Saunderson, Justin Cholewski, Andrea Belfi, Equiknoxx and Skream are just a few of the 20 musical innovators who lined up to work collaboratively with Kodo, using their epic percussion to power everything from remixes and reworks to completely new compositions. Listen to some of the amazing tracks here, and keep your eyes open for the next big part of the project – which we’ll be announcing soon.

 The ‘Kodo Together’ tracklist is:

  1. Skream – Shinogi
  2. Elkka – Pawā 
  3. Andrea Belfi – In The Horse Stable Of The Sphinx
  4. Equiknoxx – Miami Vice Chancellor and A Dam In His Sandler
  5. Tokio Myers – Victory
  6. Tlale Makhene – Ye Gamo
  7. Frank Zummo – Zeus & Poseidon
  8. Rufus Wainwright – You Came To Me
  9. The Colorist Orchestra & Emiliana Torrini – Right Here
  10. Kevin Saunderson & Justin Chowleski – Before The Storm

Skream says: “From the minute I had the meeting regarding collaborating with Kodo and learning more about the process it takes to become a member of the group, I knew I wanted to do it. Whilst I was working with them, I was doing more and more research into them as a band and realised just how big a chance it was working with people of this scale.”

KODO TOGETHER’ WILL BE RELEASED ON JULY 9TH

LISTEN TO ‘SHINOGI’ BY SKREAM FT. KODO AS PREMIERED ON CLASH MAG.

In its traditional Japanese drumming, the Kodo collective explores limitless rhythmic possibilities. Their thunderous performances transcend both language and cultural boundaries, connecting people all over the globe with their heartbeat: the primal source of all rhythm.  

For their latest project, Kodo have channelled the uniting and multicultural spirit of the upcoming Olympic Games by joining forces with an array of influential international artists from Jamaica, Iceland, Italy, India, U.S.A., South Africa, U.K. and more, for a groundbreaking collaborative project, ‘Kodo Together’ which will be released on July 9th. 

Whether or not you’ve seen Kodo’s visceral, high intensity performances, the ‘Kodo Together’ project demonstrates the boundless versatility of their sound. It’s an engaging, high impact approach grounded within their traditional roots. Those time-honoured concepts are now given a modernist spin with the help of some of music’s most forward-thinking creatives.

Kodo’s Yuta Sumiyoshi says: “Pushing the musical capabilities of taiko is not just a mission for Kodo, but also something I live by. Through these collaborations with talented artists from around the world, we hope to showcase the musical potential and possibilities of the taiko.”

Part one of the project launches with the lead track ‘Shinogi’, which unites Kodo with one of the original dubstep pioneers and Magnetic Man co-founder Skream. It’s a thrilling fusion of electro beats, organic percussion and hollered chants. While it’s not by any stretch dance music, it is informed by its structures: the hypnotic spell of trance and the ever-escalating sonics of IDM.

Skream says: “From the minute I had the meeting regarding collaborating with Kodo and learning more about the process it takes to become a member of the group, I knew I wanted to do it. Whilst I was working with them, I was doing more and more research into them as a band and realised just how big a chance it was working with people of this scale.”

‘Kodo Together’ offers surprises at every turn. Ninja Tune’s Elkka’s individuality shines through with ‘Pawā’ as its maximalist production uses ethereal vocals as the core motif for its off-kilter house rhythms. Similarly inventive is Kevin Saunderson and Justin Cholewski’s offering, ‘Before The Storm’, in which Kodo’s bombastic intensity amplifies the power of the track’s techno drops and breakdowns.

On ‘Right Here’, Icelandic songwriter Emiliana Torrini and Belgian ensemble The Colorist Orchestra layer Kodo’s gently thudding drums with atmospheric strings and tender vocals. Meanwhile, Jamaican music collective Equiknoxx’s ‘Miami Vice Chancellor and A Dam In His Sandler’ is a typically forward-thinking, stripped back affair, while Italian experimentalist Andrea Belfi’s, ‘In The Horse Stable of the Sphinx’ the Kodo drums provide more of a groove than an attack, providing a playful undercurrent for the surging acoustic instrumentation. 

The release of ‘Kodo Together’ represents a landmark moment in the history of the Japanese collective, whose roots lay in Sado, an island adjacent to Niigata on the country’s west coast. Having debuted in 1981, Kodo has performed over 6500 times across five continents, with memorable highlights including a set at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert and contributing to Vangelis’ official anthem for the 2002 World Cup. 

Kodo currently includes 34 performers, whose ages range from young adulthood to septuagenarians. New members must complete a two-year apprenticeship at Kodo’s centre on Sado, where they learn taiko, dance, song, bamboo flute, and other traditional arts in the rich natural and cultural surroundings. Once they’re fully integrated into the Kodo ensemble, they join performances focused on taiko drumming alongside other traditional Japanese instruments such as fue (a bamboo flute), shamisen (a three-stringed banjo), koto (a zither), and narimono (metal percussion).

‘Kodo Together’ will be available to stream on July 9th. More tracks forming part two will be revealed in the coming weeks.