Maher Shalal Hash Baz (band)

Maher Shalal Hash Baz is a Japanese music ensemble based in Japan, and the artistic alter ego of Tori Kudo, a Japanese composer and musician.[1][2][3][4][5]

Maher Shalal Hash Baz
art rock
free improvisation
Years active1984–present
Associated actsIkuro Takahashi
MembersTori Kudo
Reiko Kudo
Hiroo Nakazaki
rotating ensemble


The name is taken from Maher-shalal-hash-baz in the Book of Isaiah verses 8:1 and 8:3, and translates roughly as "Hurrying to the spoil, he has made haste to the plunder." Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz is also mentioned in the Book of Mormon in verses 2 Ne 18:1 and 18:3.

Tori Kudo has been evasive about details of his life before Maher Shalal Hash Baz. He was once a member of a political party in Japan, although he has dissociated himself from politics since joining the Jehovah's Witnesses. He also works as a ceramicist.

He claims to have played classical and jazz piano, as well as playing organ in a Protestant church. His other musical influences included T.Rex and saxophonist Steve Lacy. He and his wife Reiko Kudo joined a band called Worst Noise when they moved to Tokyo; other members dropped out, leaving Tori and Reiko as a duo, known simply as Noise. Under this name they released an album called Tenno (English translation - Emperor).

The impetus for Maher Shalal Hash Baz came when Tori met euphonium player Hiroo Nakazaki on a building site, and found that they shared an interest in the music of Mayo Thompson and Syd Barrett. Apart from the core trio (Tori on guitar and vocals, Reiko as vocalist, Hiroo with his euphonium), the lineup has always been fluid. After a couple of self-released cassette albums, the Japanese Org label released Maher Goes To Gothic Country (1991) and the 83-track box set Return Visit to Rock Mass (1996).

The group's profile outside Japan became much higher when Stephen McRobbie of The Pastels signed them to his Geographic label. They have released two albums on Geographic: the compilation From a Summer to Another Summer (An Egypt to Another Egypt) (2000) and the 41-track Blues Du Jour (2003); plus a number of EPs on various labels, including Souvenir De Mauve (Majikick, 1999), Maher On Water (Geographic, 2002), Faux Depart (Yik Yak, 2003) and Live Aoiheya January 2003 (Chapter Music, 2005).

Tori Kudo has resisted defining the sound of his band, although in an interview with Tim Footman in Careless Talk Costs Lives magazine (August 2002) he declared: "I am punk." There are also elements of folk, psychedelia and free jazz; the band's tendency to ask members of the audience to join in adds a sense of "danger" in live performance. Perhaps the best description comes from his own sleeve notes to From a Summer to Another Summer: "Error in performance dominates MSHB cassette which is like our imperfect life."


Maher Shalal Hash Baz

  • "Maher Goes to Gothic Country" (Org; 1991)
  • "Return Visit to Rock Mass" (Org; 1996; 83 Track Box-Set)
  • "Souvenir De Mauve" (Majikick; 1999; EP)
  • "From a Summer to Another Summer (An Egypt to Another Egypt)" (Geographic; 2000; 2-LP)
  • Maher Shalal Hash Baz / The Curtains - "Make Us Two Crayons on the Floor" (Yik Yak; 2000; CD)
  • "Maher on Water" (Geographic; 2002; 10-inch / Cd-Single)
  • "Blues Du Jour" (Geographic; 2003; CD / LP)
  • "Open Field" (Geographic; 2003; CD-Single)
  • "Faux Depart" (Yik Yak, 2004)
  • "Ethiopia" (life affair trust music, 2004; cdr single)
  • "These Songs" (incerta, 2004; cdr)
  • "Live Aoiheya January 2003" (Chapter Music; 2005; Mini-CD)
  • "Maher Kunitachi Kibun Live 1984-85" (PSF; 2006; CD)
  • "L'Autre Cap" (K; 2007; CD / LP)
  • "C'est La Dernière Chanson" (K; 2009; 2-CD)
  • "Hello New York" (OSR; 2016; LP / CD)

Bill Wells & Maher Shalal Hash Baz

  • "How's Your Bassoon, Turquirs" (Geographic; 2006; 7-inch)
  • "Osaka Bridge" (Karaoke Kalk; 2006; CD / LP)
  • "Gok" (Geographic; 2009; CD)


  1. Les inrockuptibles 2004 Page 43 "Même si personne n'avait jamais osé sortir les disques de Maher Shalal Hash Baz, il faudrait défendre, avec toute l'énergie possible, la musique de ce groupe japonais réfugié en Ecosse "
  2. The Wire 2002 Page 208 "Stephen Pastel's label showcase featuring Japan's offcore ensemble Maher Shalal Hash Baz,"
  3. Julian Cope Japrocksampler: How the Post-war Japanese Blew Their Minds 2007 "... who went on to perform with a variety of '90s bands, including Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Keiji Haino's Fushitsusha, Asahito Nanjo's High Rise, and LSD March."
  4. Signal to Noise 2004 Page 62 "Maher Shalal Hash Baz Blues du Jour Geographic GEOG23 LP/CD Maher Shalal Hash Baz are one of the most enigmatic outfits in the Japanese underground. Band leader Tori Kudo crops up all over the place — in documentation of ..."
  5. The great Scots musicography Martin Charles Strong - 2002 Page 402 "Geographic records Founded: by Stephen Pastel, P.O. Box 549, Glasgow, G12 9NQ. The Pastel man's first signing was the Japanese Maher Shalal Hash Baz (an outfit .."
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