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TRACK LIST: 1. Upper Stream 1:24 2. Recitative 1:00 3. Noble Fish Jumping 2:50 4. Crescent 5:21 5. Notice 0:29 6. River Bank Cyclist 3:51 7. Tea Ceremony 2:50 8. Armchair Fisherman 4:02 9. The Ascetic 3:26 10. Water Witch 4:12 11. Wavering Life 9:19 12. A Current in the Vein 3:39 13. Autumn Rain 5:20 14. Lower Reaches 1:56 All tracks: by Fossil. Produced & engineered by Fossil. SOLO PILOT: Hikaru "Fossil" Sekine - - acoustic, classical, & electric guitars - flutes (on 4)
Prolusion. It's clear that the eponymous Fossil album is the debut of Hikaru "Fossil" Sekine.
Synopsis. Do you remember Steve Hackett's "Momentum" (1988), most of the compositions of which consist exclusively of the parts of acoustic guitar, and two tracks feature in addition those of flute? The music of Mr. Fossil is highly original and doesn't resemble anything else, and nevertheless, some comparisons between this and the aforementioned album are inevitable. Hikaru Sekine is a masterful guitar player, and, like in the case of "Momentum", most of the contents of his first album represent classical guitar-based pieces and sketches. To be more precise, eight out of the fourteen tracks here (1 to 3, 6, & 8 to 11) consist of passages and solos of acoustic guitar, some of which were performed with the use of the "Chorus" pedal and, thus, are accompanied by echoes. The music is both beautiful and complex. All three of the last tracks on the album: A Current in the Vein, Autumn Rain, and Lower Reaches are also very interesting, though they differ from those depicted above both compositionally and structurally and have a more polyphonic sound. These present constantly developing interplay between varied, slow and up-tempo, passages of semi-acoustic guitar and soft, fluid solos of electric guitar. Tea Ceremony (7) is an Ambient-like piece, which is OK, but hardly fits the overall musical palette of the album. The remaining two tracks however, are certainly superfluous here, to say the least. The very short Notice (5) could've been regarded as an intro to the following track if there were no pause between them, while in reality it looks just like a strange foreign body in the album, as well as the preceding piece Crescent though, which is the only track here where there are only a few overdubbed and rather abstract solos of flute and no guitars.
Conclusion. Well, some, yet, distinct stylistically compositional inconsistence of the music on "Fossil" is a typically beginner's fault, and I want to believe that the next Hikaru Sekine album will be more mature. Nevertheless, about four fifths of the album are worthy to be heard and should be especially liked by those into an acoustic guitar-based progressive music.
VM: November 17, 2003
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