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(48 min, Poseidon PRF-028 / Musea FGBG-4623)
TRACK LIST: 1. Sister Crime 8:47 2. Slow Poison 3:33 3. Magpie a Gigue 4:00 4. Night Dance 2:53 5. Chance Meeting 4:53 6. Ambush 2:09 7. In the Howling Wood 7:20 8. Sailor's Hornpipe 1:27 9. Her Holly Stumbling Block 3:36 10. Wondering Aloud 2:35 11. Hard Line 6:36 LINEUP: Source Adachi - guitar; vocals Ryusuke Adachi - guitar
Prolusion. "Xianshi" is the second album by ADACHI KYODAI from Japan, following their eponymous debut outing from 2003.
Analysis. It would certainly be pointless to expect from such a configuration (an acoustic guitar duo) something notably different from what they presented on their first album, which is accurate with regard to the overall sound of "Xianshi". However, on the compositional level the album is better than its predecessor. Only the brothers' variations on Chance Meeting and Wondering Aloud (the two tracks with lyrical content) sound unoriginal, which would not have been a big deal had they not both been like Ian Anderson's acoustic stuff. In reality, only the latter song came from Anderson's repertoire, while the originator of the other is Brian Ferry. Adachi's all-absorbing passion to sing just like his idol is the only problem, which forced me to deprive this album of the highest rating I give. The ten instrumental compositions are brilliant, combining the brothers' high technical filigree with their thoughtfulness and profundity in composition, coming with no detriment to each other, as well as the music's originality, which takes place on a few tracks from their debut effort. The opening opus, Sister Crime, is a genuine suite, just as a set of three pieces: Magpie a Gigue, Night Dance and Chance Meeting, following one another with no pauses, being only conditionally divided into three tracks. Rhythmically complex, as most of the compositions, they normally represent the ever-changing interplay between the brothers, all the solos contrasting, strongly differentiating from each other in many ways. What is especially amazing about these is that they are notable not only for no returns to the previously performed thematic sections, but also for frequently shifting tempos and measures, which is clearly obvious despite the absence of a rhythm section. The primary style is certainly acoustic guitar-laden Prog, the coexistent styles being folk and Classical music. The other two of the longer tracks, In the Howling Wood and Hard Line, alternate fully cohesive arrangements with more eclectic maneuvers. The former is especially rich in intricate combinations of styling; some of the solos are so unusual that they remind me of improvisations, although I know they aren't. The short Sailor's Hornpipe is also amazingly eclectic. In the Howling Wood and Her Holly Stumbling Block each features some incredibly rapid solos, resembling those from The Flight of the Bumblebee by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The remaining three tracks: Slow Poison, Ambush and Wondering Aloud are quieter than the other and are basically slow. These are done in the vein of classic acoustic guitar instrumentals - those we often hear on vintage and similar Art-Rock albums.
Conclusion. Although there are only two musicians behind this recording, the music is both somewhat denser and more intricate than "All Intertwined" by the Might Could quartet (though overall, the albums are on par with each other, each having its own merit). Highly recommended to everyone considering acoustic guitar progressive music.
VM: January 25, 2006
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