Japan’s of Tropique! to Release Debut Album ‘Buster Goes West’ – World Music Central

Tokyo’s of Tropique! is set to release their first full-length Buster Goes West on Electric Cowbell Records on February 3, 2023. Their debut presents eclectic tropical-infused instrumental tunes. Teppei Kondo’s vintage clarinet often takes centerstage, propelled by a pulsating rhythm section that includes guest appearances by guitarist Rolando Bruno and percussionist Mutsumi Kobayashi from Japan’s leading neo-Cumbia group, Minyo Crusaders.
We started recording this album about six months after COVID-19 had come to Japan,” says clarinetist Teppei Kondo. “All gigs had been canceled, and we didn’t know when we could get back to play music again. So we thought we had to record the best things we had at that time because it could be our last work as a band. We took a few hour drive from Tokyo to Studio Chapter H[aus] in Ibaraki prefecture. It is a recording studio designed from scratch by engineer Harunobu Kashimura and famous for its ability to capture real acoustic sound. We needed his help because we really wanted to record the sound of the clarinet, which was the heart part of the band. I play a 95-year-old clarinet (made in 1927) called an Albert System Clarinet. It has a bigger and more ‘primitive’ tone due to less keys and a large bore.”
The sound of Buster Goes West is hard to describe. It has a playful, exotic vibe that echoes old cartoon and spaghetti Western soundtracks with a particular Afro-Caribbean flavor. “The album title is about an Asian guy who goes to a town in a Western country, not knowing much about it,” explains the band. “We don’t think we play Japanese music because we grew up listening to Western music and Japanese music is rather exotic to our ears. Even though the music we make may have some kind of Asian feeling.”
Preview the album at oftropique.bandcamp.com/album/buster-goes-west
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