DVD Review – Akira Jimbo: Fujiyama
Akira Jimbo has probably gone farther than any other drummer down the path of cross breeding acoustic and electronics. Anyone who’s tooled around his drummerworld.com page for a little while knows what i’m talking about. He pioneered his own method of blending electronic and acoustic drums into a hybrid kit upon which he can perform entire songs as a one man band. He’s not playing to a track or over a loop (though he does use loops) he’s using electronic drums to orchestrate parts that would normally be played by other musicians or electronically added afterwards. The system elevates drummers, drumming, and the drum-set to new musical heights. From this new musical pinnacle you get what Akira calls a “musical panoramic view.” What with all these mountain metaphors it’s no surprise he named his system the Fujiyama method! Incase you don’t know Mt. Fujiyama (a.k.a. Mt. Fuji) is the tallest mountain in Japan.
The first part of this DVD is very technical and requires some knowledge about the brain of whatever electronic drum-set you are using. The Fujiyama method works using triggers, because that way the machine follows you. Akira shows you how to set up triggers on your acoustic drums and how to program your electronics to come in when you want them and disappear when you don’t.
After the techie bit, Akira talks about how he composes songs on the drum-set. For instance using the kick drum trigger to activate bass notes. This way when you play your kick pattern you also play the bass line of your song. He also suggests using one pad to change the different modes on the drum machine. For instance, if you have a song with more then one section, you’d use this pad to go from the A section to the B section. At the end of this section he puts all he demonstrated together in the form of the song “Jamming in the Night.
After this he plays a few more songs the DVD is over. Yup, that’s all the instructional content you get.
Time for the breakdown
For content it gets 2.5 mics. Though there isn’t much Instructional content in this DVD (even less then Wasabi) the content is really good stuff and Akira is pretty much the only person who plays this way. Definitely not something you’ll see somewhere else.
For presentation it gets half a mic. It’s not really any different then Wasabi in this regard so it gets the same rating
For extras it gets no mics. This DVD doesn’t have the left foot clave section that Wasabi did and the behind the scenes section is different. Other then that the extras are identical to that of Wasabi. I’d like to give this a quarter of a mic but I don’t have a one quarter mic icon, so I’m gonna round down.
I still wouldn’t buy it because most people just aren’t going to have any need to keep this particular DVD laying around. Even if you are going to do the one man band thing Akira does you still aren’t going to need this DVD after a few viewing. It’s a renter not a keeper.