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Tsuki No Umi (Japan) - 2004 - "Sivle Redyc Chowder"
TRACK LIST: 1. Black in Purple 7:29 2. Sounds Strange 14:32 3. Black of Night 9:01 All tracks: by Tsuki No Umi. LINE-UP: Ando Masahide - electric guitar, bass; vocals Yamamoto Takao - bass, acoustic guitar; vocals Takahashi Susumu - drums Tagawa Kaoru - percussion Wakita Yamao - saxophone Produced & engineered by Tsuki No Umi.
Prolusion. "Sivle Redyc Chowder" is the third outing by the Japanese quintet TSUKI NO UMI (Lunar Horse) and is another production of Poseidon Records, which, however, was released through one of the label's divisions, Vital Music. So I can suppose that the album is highly experimental in character and has a very little commercial potential, which is all right with me. I haven't heard their studio albums: "Tsuki No Umi" and "Inlet of a Lunar World Travel".
Synopsis. The CD is 31 minutes in length and contains three instrumental compositions, each being titled in English unlike the album itself. Although they fluidly flow from one to another, without pauses, I am inclined to think that all of them were recorded live, and not only the last track as it is stated in the CD booklet. The point is that there are no overdubs on the album, and the sound quality, which is rather typical for live recordings, remains unchangeable throughout. Black in Purple (1) is the only composition that features an acoustic guitar, the passages of which are interwoven with basic arrangements representing constantly developing, yet, always consistent interplay between solos of electric guitar, bass, drums and those of mallet percussion. The parts of saxophone are much jazzier, so the overall style is a blend of guitar Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion and RIO with some excursuses into a free jazz. Sounds Strange (2) sounds not that strange actually, even if it can hardly be perceived differently than a benefit performance of Susumu and Kaoru (see lineup above). So, this is a concerto for assorted, metal and mallet, small and big percussion instruments from triangle and glockenspiel to a complete drum kit, which, while being original, might be of interest perhaps only to those studying various techniques of jazz drumming, etc. Such tracks sound OK only in the context of a full-length live album, while in this case the drum solos cover nearly a half of the recording's playing time. The most part of the music on Black of Night (3) is much in the same vein as the album's opener, but the beginning is more muddled with all the instruments jamming both wildly and intensively in the way of avant-garde jazz. There also are some African ritual-like exclamations on each of the first two tracks, but I wouldn't say they add any real ethnic sense to the music.
Conclusion. Like the majority of Japan's progressive outfits, Lunar Horse is saddled by highly virtuosi musicians and can be proud:-) of its members' mastery of performance. However, the band has to improve their compositional skill so as their next album to be perfect in every respect.
VM: August 12, 2004
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