[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(57:44, ‘Prime Numbers’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Beginning 1:46 2. Voiceless Cry 6:47 3. Curious Anger 1:27 4. Yellow Storm 6:17 5. A Sign 2:45 6. Shadow 2:29 7. Three 2:45 8. Requiem 2011 3:22 9. Raikai-1 6:25 10. Raikai-2 3:22 11. Deep in the Flow 6:24 12. Blessing of the Lesser Gods 5:09 13. A-mi-da 1:48 14. Promise 6:59 LINEUP: Accept – bass guitars; keyboards; vocals; programming TT – voice With: Tatsushi Baba – drums
Prolusion. ACCEPT is the creative vehicle of Japanese composer and instrumentalist Hisao, who made his debut as a recording artist with "Silver Moon" in 2007. Following a second album in 2009, "Taiji (Confrontation)" is the third full length album by this project, and was released on Accept's own Prime Numbers label in the spring of 2012.
Analysis. While Hisao’s first album drew heavily on the legacy of 70's British progressive rock in general and artists such as Mike Oldfield and Camel in particular, his second disc "Moebious" started moving away from that direction moving towards the creation of sophisticated soundscapes and mood pieces: compositions and constructions with a strong dualistic nature in terms of what they are and what they aren't, enigmatic creations hard to place within a particular context. His latest disc "Taiji" is a further development of this approach. We're here treated to 14 compositions that by and large appear to be introspective in nature, distanced and somewhat detached yet also with a strong personal touch: music of the kind to which the answer to questions concerning challenging features, unique characteristics, innovative features or just about any other aspect of it will be answered with yes and no. Take Voiceless Cry for instance. With rhythmic sounds like those of stones rolling down on a hard surface opening this piece, followed by a brooding sequence of digital strings that shifts into some sort of cinematic sequence with sampled sounds, keyboard textures and distant vocals, initially concluding with a dramatic instrumental burst and a cry. An acoustic guitar driven sequence follows next, shifting to a new segment featuring melancholic digital strings, distant vocals and symphonic backdrops, concluding with another dramatic effect and a cry; then repeating this sequence, but now in a more dramatic manner as far as instrumental arrangements go. This standalone creation has cinematic as well as ambient aspects to it, but can't be described as either one or the other, and while larger parts of the composition show telltale signs of the influence from symphonic progressive rock, it doesn't really tie in with that stylistic expression either. But structurally as well as in terms of arrangements this is a piece that resides in some unique niche somewhere within the art rock universe – easy to grasp, relatively speaking, yet also a challenging piece to some extent. Most of the tracks on this disc share many of the features of this piece. The longer creations tend to sport drums and more of a rock oriented sound, while the shorter ones tend to hone in on a cinematic or atmospheric based expression, the latter frequently utilizing cold instrumental textures with an alien or futuristic tinge to them which are combined with a brooding, dark overall feel that frequently gave me associations with dystopian cinematic features like Blade Runner. Some compositions stray slightly from this norm obviously, as we're not dealing with an artist applying a strict formula, and among the exceptions we have a piece like Deep in the Flow, a composition that blends careful, almost pastoral symphonic sequences with ambient and cinematic passages that come close to new age, an elongated dissonant dramatic crescendo and a joyful, positive part closer to symphonic progressive rock in expression. "Taiji" is an album that manages to combine features as described and quite a few subtle variations of those in a mostly compelling manner throughout. Some of them work better than others obviously, and for me personally the clear highlight came towards the end of the CD with Blessing of the Lesser Gods, a composition that incorporates both the gentler and more careful parts of Accept's stylistic approach as well as the more energetic and dramatic ones in a clever and effective manner.
Conclusion. Accept's "Taiji is an album that by and large merits a description as unique. Introspective, distanced and somewhat detached music that utilizes sounds, effects, cinematically oriented themes and passages that showcase an inspiration from symphonic progressive rock into a whole that does belong somewhere within the art rock universe. The emphasis on moods and atmospheres makes me suspect that fans of artists like Vangelis and Kitaro might be something of a key audience, at least those among them who also find music of a more challenging variety to be of interest.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: January 17, 2012
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]