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TRACK LIST: 1. Til na nog 4:54 2. Turkish David 7:12 3. Atarimae 5:43 4. Tri Band Boom 5:32 5. Nagoya no Itoko 4:44 All tracks: by Minoke. LINE-UP: Kawaguchi Yasushi - 5-string fretless bass & Chapman Stick Takahashi Katsunori - drums & percussion Kayama Kosei - alto & tenor saxophones Sekido Kunihiko - piano & synthesizers
Prolusion. "Taneshina" is the debut album by the Japanese band Minoke.
Synopsis. It's an amazing experience to listen to the production of Poseidon Records, the good quality and musical diversity of which is really striking. How rich is the Land of the Rising Sun in Prog talent! Minoke is another (which by number?) bright example of active and very successful development of the contemporary Japanese progressive scene where even the youngsters perform a fantastically skillful and interesting music, and the conception of debut album just loses its traditionally interpreted meaning. Indeed, the word "promising" would sound just insulting with regard to the majority of the Japanese Prog-related debut albums I've reviewed in the new millennium, as well as Minoke's "Takeshina". This genuinely inspired, thoughtfully composed and arranged, and outstandingly fresh sounding music was created by very gifted musicians who know the time of day, know for what they've come into this world of cosmic noises, and where they'll go later on. Highly diverse and eclectic, the arrangements on the album are usually represented by constantly developing, yet, coherent interplay between passages of piano and solos of two saxophones, Stick, and drums, and experienced Prog-heads will quickly notice that all of this is marked with distinct signs of magic and magnetism. The opening track: Til na nog is apparently destined to prepare the listeners to the further contents of the album. The piece begins with a rather melodious and instantly comprehensible sound and becomes really complex only closer to the end of it. Stylistically, it represents a blend of three different genres: Jazz-Fusion, Symphonic Art-Rock, and some of one Folk music, the origin of which I wouldn't presume to define. The other four compositions: Turkish David, Atarimae, Tri Band Boom, and Nagoya no Itoko (2 to 5) are entities of a truly unique, somewhat experimental Jazz-Fusion with pronounced elements of Symphonic Progressive and some of those of Space Rock, and it's really amazing to hear when wild jazzy solos of saxophone rush along with the piano passages that, in their turn, are classically symphonic in character. The first two of them are notable mostly for intensive arrangements, while the latter two consist approximately of the equal quantity of dense and 'atmospheric' structures.
Conclusion. Minoke is a group of remarkable musicians who've conquered terrific heights already on their debut album. Being the true adherent of original and complicated music, I am and will always be happy to support such albums as the hero of this review, though I understand (and regret) that its potential auditory is quite confined.
VM: November 7, 2003
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