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(47 min, Poseidon & Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Aircon 11:03 2. Dayflower 10:04 3. Zitensia 8:30 4. Koibumi 10:55 5. Last Sign 7:16 LINEUP: Renji Tanaka - guitars Ratsu Sato - drums Toshiyuki Koike - bass Ryuji Yonekura - keyboards Sayuri Aruga - vocals With: Akihisa Tsuboy - violin
Prolusion. Here is INTERPOSE from Japan and their eponymous debut album.
Analysis. Among the five semi-epics on this 47-minute recording there are two instrumental compositions: Zitensia and Last Sign. Those coming with lyrical content: Aircon, Koibumi and Dayflower aren't abundant in vocals however, the latter being largely instrumental in a true sense of the concept. In other words, much of the music is instrumental, which is a positive aspect, despite the fact that Sayuri Aruga is a gifted, emotional vocalist with a wide vocal range. The point is that her partners are somewhat over-cautious when she sings, otherwise much more often venturing into the adventurous realms. Another minor flaw, due to which this very promising band could not get a masterwork status already for their first brainchild (and which I also refer to what I understand as the debut syndrome), concerns a light incoherence in the construction of some of their works. In all other aspects, "Interpose" is a damn good and original thing, which will be a pretty exciting journey for those accepting and comprehending a stylistically polymorphous Prog Rock. With ease, the band manipulates different genres, bravely shuffling and mixing them, so even the relatively transparent album's opener, Aircon, will leave you guessing whether it's quasi-improvisational Art-Rock or Jazz-Fusion with distinct symphonic tendencies. As the one track featuring a guest performance by Akihisa Tsuboy (of KBB), it has a lot of violin patterns, particularly on the track's second half. Renji Tanaka, playing equally well on both electric and acoustic guitar, is in a mostly subordinate position here, but is highly active throughout the rest of the material. Immediately following are two highlights of the recording. Dayflower is purely symphonic in character and is a true suite, featuring Classical-like prelude, interlude and postlude and several different middle sections. Much of the music is a dramatically intricate Art-Rock, which has a certain common ground with any of the 'sidelong' epics from Yes's "Close to the Edge" and "Relayer", keyboardist Ryuji Yonekura appearing much as a Japanese Rick Wakeman. Despite the absence of violin, the song has a distinctive classical sense throughout, due to a specific approach in composition, the apt and the wide use of a string ensemble, piano and acoustic guitar, and also Toshiyuki Koike's unique style of playing bass. While combining Art-Rock, RIO, Jazz-Fusion and Classical music on the stylistic level, the first instrumental, Zitensia, turns out to be made up of amazingly angular sonic constructions. This is a brilliant composition, which will be a feast for any sucker of odd meters, such as myself. Here is the right time to cheer the drummer, Ratsu Sato, for being quick on the uptake of the soloists' movements and his extraordinary technique in general. Koibumi, which is mainly Art-Rock with elements of Classical music, returns the listener to the Dayflower area, beginning and developing much like that composition. There are also intense and intricate arrangements here, but when you are just expecting the music would turn to its most furious and reach its progressive apotheosis, the band unexpectedly retires, yielding the conquered lines to Sayuri and her vocals. Nevertheless, this is a very good composition, as also is the instrumental, Last Sign, with which the album gets its happy end (I really hope so). The piece begins as a reflective Jazz-Fusion slightly resembling early David Torn or Allan Holdsworth, then getting a mellower melodic sound, but, later on, transforming into an irresistibly impressive speedy guitar- and organ-laden Art-Rock with a touch of Metal. It would've been a masterwork had the second section not been slightly overextended.
Conclusion. "Interpose" is a very good album, at least, and is one of the strong debuts of the year. Those who are in their element when various Prog Rock manifestations are delivered in one package should consider this release. I believe it's worthy of their attention.
VM: January 1, 2006
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