Couldn’t resist recreating the Battle of Hoth on this scene from near Pen y Fan this week …
It takes about an hour to climb this moutain, the highest peak in South Wales. The first thing I noticed on the ascent was the dull crunch underfoot as the snow muffled my steps. One of the things I love about snow days in the blanket of silence it usually brings. I notice this silence most in the mornings if it has snowed overnight.
I’ve climbed to the summit in every decade of my life, but this was the coldest conditions I’ve experienced. Near the summit the wind picked up and the wind chill factor hit me… despite being wrapped up well with extra layers and two hats, the cold wind felt like ice cold needles poking my cheek skin. Part of my head nearly nearly froze at the summit.
There was very little visibility near the summit. The landscape reminded me of scenes from the Battle of Hoth in the Star Wars film. I expected to see an AT-AT Walker or hungry tauntaun at any moment.
I felt refreshed and invigorated after the walk with MORE not less energy after the walk. The physics of exercise amaze me… fairly strenuous exercise like this releases so much untapped energy.
Star Wars ‘Imperial March’ by Kuricorder Quartet… so amusing.
Profile from their website (English version) :
Kuricorder Quartet is a quite brilliant, rather eccentric multi-instrumental group from Japan. Never in the history of music has the humble recorder, (kuri by the way is the Japanese for ‘chestnut’, the corder bit comes from recorder) sounded this fresh and exciting. And never would you have thought the recorder, from the small soprano, to the giant great bass, via alto and tenor, this capable of playing the most innovative of music.
Kuricorder are not just about recorders though. Each member is a virtuoso on at least one other instrument, and together they create a rich, warm, polyphonic tapestry of sounds. Delightfully unclassifiable, encompassing jazz, folk, blues, classical, medieval, funk among others, their choice of material ranges from a variety of styles on original tunes to Imperial March from Star Wars, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody to Japanese children’s songs.
Originally formed in 1994, Kuricorder Quartet have gradually built an ever expanding fan base in Japan. They’ve released six albums to date, plus a couple of greatest hits, and 2 live DVDs and CDs. They have become known to a wider public through writing and performing film soundtracks (Near Equal Yayoi Kusama, Quill, Yamagata Scream) TV drama themes, (Pythagora-Switch) TV commercials and collaborating with pop artists such as UA, Chemistry and Morio Agata. Their 2006 album ‘Ukulele Kuricorder’ made it into the mainstream pop charts.
Their roots, however, lie in the vibrant Tokyo underground scene and each member brings a wealth of experience and unique talent to the quartet. Saxophonist Yoshiyuki Kawaguchi, has played with a multitude of bands including Shibusashirazu, with whom he has toured the world, Cicala Mvta and many others. He plays an array of other instruments such as bodhran, harmonica and ukulele. Guitarist and ukulele player Kenji Kondo composed the music for the 2009 Oscar-winning short animation, ‘La Maison en Petit Cubes.’ Masaki Kurihara is playing melodica, among others and is a composer for various Anime films and over 500 TV commercials . Sometimes he plays Electric Bass Ex.DATE COURSE PENTAGON ROYAL GARDEN led by Naruyoshi Kikuchi and other bands.Tuba player Takero Sekizima’s career CV reads like a who’s who of Japan’s most pioneering artists of the last 20 years, as a member of the legendary avant garde jazz /chindon group Compostella, to Komacha Klezmer and participating in numerous projects such as the groundbreaking albums by Okinawan musician Tetsuhiro Daiku.
Unclassifiable maybe, but if Kuricorder Quartet make a particular brand of music, it might be called joyous. Totally unpretentious, laid back, brilliantly played, laced with a sense of humour and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.