[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(63 min, Poseidon & Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Movement From Silence-I 1:26 2. Waves 15:40 3. Neo Classic Dance 6:04 4. Satie 3:52 5. Movement From Silence-II 0:51 6. Summer 3:38 7. Panorama 3:18 8. Dizziness 5:45 9. Winter Song 7:56 10. Movement From Silence-III 0:47 11. Spiral 13:48 LINEUP: Satoshi Hirata - electric guitar Takao Kawasaki - keyboards; sampling Kyotaka Tanabe - drums, percussion With: Akane Kobinata - vocals (1, 5, 10)
Prolusion. Here is a Japanese trio, FLAT 122 and their first official CD "The Waves".
Analysis. There are some vivid and brilliant bands in Japan, such as Kenso, Mongol and KBB, which obviously must be considered as an integral part of the progressive-rock history of their country. Flat 122 are another outfit in this row and have distinctly adorned it by their debut release. The formation began its activity in 2002, so the participants of the group can hardly be defined as the beginners. Playing progressive rock of the highest quality, the trio members introduce jazz-rock and classical elements here. These stylistic features bring an essential dose of variety and versatility into their music. The program's content is tastefully colorful. The anxious fragments make way for the quiet and lucid ones; the academically oriented episodes turn into atonality and avant-garde sounding pieces. Movement from Silence is a heady opener; it's short and is arranged in a cyber-electronic key with the introduction of wordless female vocals. The fifth and tenth tracks are similar to it and appear as interludes between longer compositions. As to the title track, I think it would be correct to define it as a bulky and complex suite. The calm and timid initial theme becomes more intensive while evolving, evoking from time to time some episodes from the well-known piano cycle by Mussorgski, "Pictures at an Exhibition". The keyboard and guitar solos follow each other by turns, making the thematic development marvelous and unpredictable. The evident virtue of the epic is its diversity. There's no one prolonged fragment with multiple repeats here. The strong influences of 20th Century classical music are obvious in the grand piano, whose passages are dismal and somber. The final part of the composition is analogous to its beginning, due to the large music form. Neo Classic Dance begins in a major tonality, which transforms while the piece's development goes on. The piece is very attractive, due to its interesting chord structures, lavish arrangements and emotional variety. Both Hirata and Kawasaki are vigorous composers; they have an astonishing ability to fill some rather short tracks with the musical contents to the brim, and simultaneously, to avoid any overloading. The next three works, Satie, The Summer and Panorama are the best examples to confirm that. Dizziness is notable for its hard and almost metallic fast tempo arrangements. There is a drum solo in the middle of the composition, which brings a pleasant impression. This is one of the most expressive tracks here, because the musicians' virtuosity finely coincides with the well-measured aggression of their themes. The aptly titled The Winter Song is forceful as well, but it's made in an absolutely different key. It presents an exquisite dialogue between the keyboards and guitar without the rhythm section. The essential jazz influences are evident throughout the harmonic structures. The final opus, Spiral, is a volumetric suite, as well as the title track. It is comprised of numerous differently sounding fragments with wide-ranged emotional colorations. There are inventively arranged episodes turning into the cyber-electronic moments; beautiful piano passages transform into quite a gloomy theme with some free-jazz and atonal elements. The grand finale vividly and convincingly brings a sense of solemnity.
Conclusion. As usual, I tried to define the program's stylistic features at the beginning of the review. But it was really difficult this time out, because this is a really unique album. Its originality is conditioned in a great measure by the band players' wide-ranged musical interests, which occupy the position somewhere from Messiaen, Bartok, Reich and Glass through jazz-rock and The Beatles to the researches of modern classical composers. The album comes highly recommended to those feeling right at home in the realms of classical music, jazz and progressive-rock.
VF: January 26, 2006
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]