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(59 min, Poseidon PRF-030 / Musea FGBG 4631)
TRACK LIST: 1. Villa Adriana 2:16 2. Two Orders of Image 8:21 3. Fragments from the Pass 1:51 4. Ancient Museum 9:28 5. Seascape 3:04 6. The Valley of Lutha 9:40 7. Shadow Picture 10:16 8. Little Wind 2:31 9. Stonehenge 11:23 LINEUP: Kikio Fujikawa - keyboards, pianos, Moog Yozox - electric & acoustic guitars Masahiro Torigaki - bass Taiqui - drums With: Hisashi Nagao - sax
Prolusion. Please read here.
Analysis. Like a teenager, I have mentally cried 'Cool!' in my native language just after conquering a height named "Five Evolved From Nine". No, you needn't be a graduate in musical Alpinism to climb up this majestic musical Everest:-), unless you are a beginner. The album will immediately draw your attention, but you will have to have many happy returns to it to fully comprehend it. Does this sound good to you? I really hope so. Consisting of exclusively new compositions written in 1992, "Five Evolved From Nine" presents five long and four short tracks, none of which is a makeweight, regardless of what the title may suggest. Gone are traces of anyone's influences, the music appearing to be almost unbelievably fresh and unique, full of inspiration, expression, dynamism and drama. It would be pointless to use any direct comparisons in this case. Furthermore, I don't think I can use even relative ones anywhere but regarding the second composition. The opener (and the first short track), Villa Adriana, has a full-fledged full-band sound and can be viewed as a symphonic intro to its follow up, Two Orders of Image, which is the only track here constructed clearly in the fashion of classic Jazz-Fusion, with some certain resemblance to Brand X, Kenso and Side Steps, though revealing itself only on the structural level. The piece features some brilliant long improvised solos from saxophonist Hisashi Nagao (whose appearance on "Marine Menagerie" was only nominal), all four of the band members providing endless brilliant foils to each other, as everywhere on this album. Back to Hisashi Nagao: His hour of triumph is yet to come, on one of the further tracks, Shadow Picture, although I am certain that it's keyboardist Kikio Fujikawa who composed all the implied themes. Stonehenge, the track list counterpart of Two Orders of Image, isn't poor in improvisations either, but it's much more diverse and cohesive simultaneously, the arrangements being in a state of constant, yet always logical development (from a symphonic standpoint). To be short, it will not fail to please anyone into progressive music, and I mean above all those leaning towards Art-Rock. The wonderfully contrasting Ancient Museum is the alternation of almost clearly symphonic textures with those originating from jazz, the band with astonishing ease jumping from style to style, with no repeats of previously performed sections. The Valley of Lutha is similar, although divided into two distinctively contrasting parts, the seeming fragility of the music in the first section being perceptible almost physically. I believe almost all of the tracks on this album are masterworks, but Shadow Picture is just something marvelously incredible. I have no words to describe this wonderful musical fairytale, rising above any genre definitions. Please believe me, it will be a revelation for you, my experienced brothers and sisters in passion, regardless of your belonging to one or another genre. I am just bewitched by Shadow Picture; I can't stop playing it again and again, and I can't remember when I was so much pleased with one separate composition for the last time. As to the remaining three short tracks, they're also amazing, even though not as much as the longer ones. Fragments from the Pass and Little Wind are acoustic guitar pieces, and Seascape is a little concerto for piano, though these descriptions are incomplete, because each is a unique (and full-fledged) composition.
Conclusion. Unlike "Marine Menagerie", "Five Evolved from Nine" is a brilliant album, in every respect. Furthermore, it sounds like it is destined to fully reconcile symphonic and improvisational styles and, hence, to unite even the most inveterate adherents of corresponding genres, opening a whole new world for them, where the seemingly opposed harmonies exist just as one single whole. I wish Ain Soph to find their 'second wind' again and rejoice us with another new creation. Supremely recommended. Top-20-1993
VM: February 24, 2006
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