Prince Pansori Priestess, the debut effort of BAMBOO, was released in December of last year, with the recording process taking a year between the spring of 2014 and 2015. It’s a vibrant album, full of emotion and passion – and I highly recommend you give it a spin.
The album opens with ‘Auroch’. Light banjo strumming leads into a heavy synth beat before the song begins properly. Melodies and synths escalate as the song progresses, giving ‘Auroch’ a mystical, almost soundtrack-like element. ‘Auroch’ leads straight into ‘Stone’ – the first single of the album. Arguably the most ‘poppy’ cut from Prince Pansori Priestess, ‘Stone’ is by no means derivative, but it certainly feels catchier than a lot of the second half of the record. ‘Stone’ has some beautiful melodies throughout, and an excellent percussive section.
‘Hexagonal’ experiments with vocal layering in a big way, with frequent nonverbal passages adding texture to the song. ‘Oh Bohol’ and ‘Sangokushi Love Theme’ close the A Side of Priest Pansori Priestess, with the latter track being penned by Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra. The BAMBOO version feels epic in scope, providing a peaceful conclusion to the first half of the album.
The B Side of the record is encouragingly different to the A Side in terms of tone and emotional resonance. While the first half of Prince Pansori Priestess has catchy synths and an upbeat feel to it, the latter portion edges into minor territory. ‘Hotaru’ features lower, almost droning vocals, and has a slightly unnerving feel to it. This unnerving element is carried onto the introduction of ‘Khene Song’, which begins with slightly disjointed synths and wailing vocals from Rachel. ‘Khene Song’ is largely instrumental, and there’s a great deal of complexity towards the latter half of the track.
‘Be Brothers’ feels like a call-back to the first half of the record, with a more energetic feel to the music and lyricism. The first half of the song is vocal-driven, with the latter being fuelled by rhythmic percussion and nonverbal wailing. The short reprise of ‘Stone’ leads us into the final song – ‘Islands’. One of the strongest cuts from the album, ‘Islands’ feels huge in scope, and builds in complexity as the track progresses. ‘Islands’ breaks down towards the end with disjointed synths leading into silence.