Taiko Saito Solo

Marimba & Vibraphone


Derk Richardson, The absolute sound

Saito’s genius… expounding upon repeated melodic and rhythmic motifs; experimenting with the rosewood tones of her 5.5-octave marimba. the motor- and pedal-driven reverberations and resonances of her vibraphone, and the percussive qualities of her 10 hand-wound mallets (plus the scrape and drone of a double bass bow on one track); and freely improvising from an “empty mind” starting point. Her titles- “Rain,” “Angry Bee,” “Sound Gradation,” “Uneri” (undulation)- evoke the swirling music she creates in three- to six-and-a-half-minute journeys through dreamlike soundscapes.

Toon Traveller, outside left

Let’s begin with Daichi the opening track on Taiko Saito’s new solo LP, Tears of a Cloud. Wow! What a way to begin a record. This is an LP that many readers might overlook, there’s no electricity, no bass line, nor a western melody. Improv rages sanguinely here. If you don’t listen then that is a serious loss my friends, ‘Tears of a Cloud’ has evocation, magic, and a breath-holding spirituality. It tantalises, flits, flirtatiously pollinating ideas, images, and emotions. Firework imagination, bright burning, explosives, illuminating in flashes of dexterous brilliance. This is music that shouts – softly, and sews ideas vigorously into the fertile grounds of our minds. The fast flurries, pensive pauses, delicate diminutive playing, demonstrate a master of her instrument with the highest power. 

This whole LP is a joyously extravagant concoction. Celebratory. Suddenly calming. This is music that is just, a composer, an instrument, ideas, and the exquisite skill to demonstrate those thoughts, images, hopes, and directions. This music lives and breathes, like life itself. As the music grows and fills the spaces between idle moments and thoughts, you’re perhaps realising, just let this music fill small thin spaces with micro-moments of escape, into the beauties of your own contented, contemplative places. This is a brilliant record, seek it out.


Andy Hamilton, The Wire

Taiko Saito plays a variety of marimbas and vibraphones, creating lyrical, spacious and spiritual music. She plays solo, exploiting the contrast between these percussion instruments very effectively and sympathetically….. A beautiful and compelling recording.


Keith Black, Winnipeg free press

….She is clearly gifted and an explorer of the instrumental limits of vibraphone and marimba. 


Dee Dee McNeil, Musicalmemoirs

Taiko Saito is a female marimba and vibraphonist who stretches music, like a rubber band across space. She offers the universe her solo excursion into complex compositions and free improvisation to display her talent like a banner across the sky. ….Here is an album that will prod your inner imagination and will also relax you like a musical massage. Taiko Saito’s music may inspire you, as it has this journalist, and like the composer herself, open your heart and your brain to endless possibilities.


Ivan Rod

Taiko Saito is an innovative, technically skilled and highly productive Japanese composer and marimba and vibraphone player.From her residence in Berlin, she has taken the initiative for a number of music projects and accepted others’, but I myself find the most pleasure in her own solo projects – e.g.in an album like the new one,Tears of a Cloud. And I do so because her sense of timbre appears so clear, her virtuosity so clear, her performance so naked. To a large extent, the music on the album is improvised, but one senses a connection to Japanese tradition, meditation, etc. Her sound and prefer red timbre are personal, significant, sensual. And it is a quality that requires a part of the practitioner.I especially admire her ability to dose and hold back.It is precisely this ability that makes her music so magnetic, so physical, so characteristic. At no point does she pander to the listener, and yet there is an immediate attraction in her improvisational music, which, with few exceptions, balances between avant-garde jazz and traditionalJapanese aesthetics.When I hear the track,Angry Bird, however, I involuntarily think of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee.When I hear the closing track, Distance, I feel exposed to a wistful farewell. 


Tears of a Cloud


LP, CD, Digital Formats 

April 28, 2023

Trouble in the East Records

Digital Album is now available!