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(37:22 / Poseidon Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. I Talk To The Door 0:36 2. 1000 Days Before 4:39 3. Shinsekai 7:03 4. OCAT 6:49 5. All Or Nothing 3:15 6. Riviere of Life-I 5:10 7. Riviere of Life-II 3:29 8. Nishinari Skidrow 6:17 LINEUP: Yu Shimoda - Mellotron, Mini-Moog, piano, synthesizer Masaru Teramae - guitars; flute Akinobu Kajimoto - bass Tadashi Teramae - drums
Prolusion. Not much to put here. Although this CD arrived without any supporting material, it is most likely that this self-titled creation by Japanese quartet SHINSEKAI is their first release.
Analysis. Unlike Naoki Ishida's "Fazing Redust", an odd opus which so to speak came directly out of the precincts of InterMusic / Poseidon Records, "Shinsekai", while being a good album, as well as possessing a relatively strong commercial potential, is a CD-R issued through Vital Music, a kind of experimental division of the label with relatively scanty market possibilities. Four of the seven instrumentals here bear a certain resemblance to King Crimson, and to be frank, I like those a bit better than the others, though in terms of identity, of more importance are definitely the pieces where the band avoid any outside factors, namely Riviere of Life-2 and the title track. Basically slow, the first of these is an uncomplicated, yet tasty, beautiful interplay between flute and acoustic guitar with occasional Mellotron patterns. Upon the first spin it seems there is a fair amount of stylistic and thematic variety on Shinsekai, but even though there are in fact only three different storylines that strictly alternate with each other, each reveals enough alterations to it to keep the entire thing from sounding repetitive, besides which the territories covered belong to such different realms as Blues, Art-Rock (with a jazz-tinged piano) and dark symphonic Prog-Metal, so mentally I take my hat off to the broadness of these neophytes' horizon. As hinted above, the devices etc that Shinsekai were guided by when making the other tracks have been previously used by many, let alone their originators, but unlike some of their predecessors in that field, these guys aren't blind imitators of the English legend, showing a more careful approach to their legacy. Nevertheless, Masaru Teramae at times seems to be eager to share his pride in having learnt some of Robert Fripp's techniques with the listeners, and since his guitar is often crucial to the sound of all the remaining four tracks, each of those is branded with the King Crimson influence. 1000 Days Before and All Or Nothing each find Shinsekai building intensity and variations almost throughout. The highlights of the album, these are rich in angular, aurally dark prog-metal-like movements with a strong mid-'70s Crimson vibe (think Red or Fracture), though occasionally, comparisons can also be drawn with Mekong Delta's "Visions Fugitive" and Deep Purple's "Fireball". One of the two compositions with no distinctly hard arrangements, OCAT is clearly '80s King Crimson in construction, and yet there are also hints of an '70s symphonic sound, due to the deployment of Mellotron, no matter that the instrument is used sparingly here, unlike some of the other tracks. Riviere of Life-I consists predominantly of dark industrial landscapes invoking Industry from "Three of a Perfect Pair", while Nishinari Skidrow alternates singular Doom Metal with soundscapes, both the substances referring to you know what. Oh almost forgot: the opening cut, I Talk To The Door, barely exceeding half a minute in length, is a vocoder strongly reminiscent of the intro to "Tales of Mystery & Imagination" by The Alan Parsons Project.
Conclusion. The homage that these Japanese musicians pay to King Crimson is considerable, but there are no pieces here where such an influence succeeds in overshadowing their own musical discoveries. Furthermore, two of the tracks indicate their makers' potential to achieve a genuine identity to their sound. So while not without signs of 'debut syndrome', this recording leaves quite a pleasant impression overall. Those who're eager to hear something in the style of King Crimson while waiting for anything new from the band themselves, particularly those into the third and the fourth periods of their work (or more simply put - incarnations), should find a lot here to enjoy.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: December 31, 2007
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