The first time I played this, I wasn't too sure about it, but it turns out to be one of those albums that really gets under your skin. London-based Taeko Kunishima is a fine composer/pianist, and here she and her band juggle a number of styles to create an adventurous fusion of atmospheric grooves, hard-hitting post-bop, tender, lyrical interludes and delicate introspection, frequently given a distinctive edge by the use of the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute (played here by flautist Clive Bell, apparently one of the few Europeans ever to master this instrument). The music is mainly acoustic - piano, bass, drums, percussion, trumpet and flute/shakuhachi - but with an occasional overlay of electronic treatments that gently enhances without ever becoming too intrusive. Kunishima's compositions often draw on flavours from the music of her native Japan, and from time to time the music wanders off into some fairly abstract realms, but this is balanced out by her flair for subtle, attractive melodic lines. It takes a couple of plays for the whole thing to fall into place and make sense, but when it does, it's well worth the wait. In all fairness, it won't be everyone's cup of tea, and not everything works here - hence only four stars. But on the evidence of this album, I'd say Taeko Kunishima is worth watching, and this is a fine place to start.