“Out of chaos comes order,” wrote the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. And while many scientific examples seem to point to the truth of this profound statement, in this case it’s KAO:S that arose from chaos. By chaos I’m referring to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that wreaked havoc in Northern Japan. And by KAO:S I’m referring to the Japanese band that was founded just a month after the earthquake.
Following the Japanese pronunciation of chaos (‘kah-oss’) the band was formed around members Kaori Kawabuchi (vocal/sword dance), Shuji Yamagiri (acoustic guitar/vocal) and Jack (Tsugaru-Shamisen). Kawabuchi, a professional movement actress who assisted in mapping the movement of game characters in major games like Final Fantasy, puts on quite a show wielding samurai swords and moving around the stage in an enchanting manner. What’s impressive is that the group somehow manages to stay away from kitschy performances that tourists visiting Japan might see. They clearly have no interest in being an artifact of history and have established themselves as a thrilling, modern rock band.
KAO:S has been a regular at SXSW for the past several years and they were planning to keep the tradition going this year. However, upon arriving at customs they were unfortunately denied entrance into the U.S. It’s unclear what the exact reason was but 2 other Japanese bands who were supposed to play at SXSW were also denied entry. It’s a shame that artists are being denied entry, especially when they’ve already travelled that far. NPR Music’s Bob Boilen joked that perhaps it was their swords that caused the problem. If you have a chance definitely go see them in person. But for now, here are some tracks to give you a flavor for KAO:S.