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TRACK LIST: 1. Movement 1 8:54 2. Movement 2 11:50 3. Movement 3 9:34 4. Movement 4 8:18 5. Movement 5 9:12 6. Movement 6 6:41 7. Movement 7 10:13 8. Movement 8 11:08 All tracks: composed & arranged by Aqi Fzono. SOLO PILOT: Aqi Fzono - - varied analog and digital keyboards, - pipe organ, spinet, piano; theremin With: Ashra - percussion Madame Juju - guitars Janis Bradley - vocalizes & Fzono Symphonic Ensemble Produced & conducted by Aqi Fzono. Engineered by Ashra & Aqi Fzono in the USA & Japan.
Prolusion. The Japanese musician and composer Aqi (i.e. Aki) Fzono is best known for a progressive music album series called "Synthesizer Symphony". "Chronicle" is his sixth solo album.
Synopsis. On "Chronicle" Aqi Fzono showcases his talent as an extraordinary keyboardist and very gifted composer, drawing influence from both European and Asian (generally speaking, of course) classical music, and also Ambient and Electronic Rock. The warm, yet, clearly dramatic tones flow off his fingers, creating a sound, which is much more deep and passionate than that, which we usually expect to hear from such performers. Aqi is joined by symphonic orchestra, big mixed choir, percussionist and long-time collaborator Ashra, the wonderful operatic singer Janis Bradley and, on a couple of tracks, by guitarist Madame Juju. The music is usually slow and as if floating, not flashy pyrotechnics here. Nevertheless, the constant and 'classically' logical development of all the arrangements here is the fact that doesn't need any attestation - at least concerning anyone who got the thing and got into it as well. The best general definition of the album would probably be Ambient Classical Music Concerto for various analog and digital keyboards, orchestra, and choir, though as a matter of fact, we have a few different stylistic pictures here. A highly fresh sounding fusion of Classical Academic Music, classically influenced Ambient (yeah), and 'wordless' Opera is presented on the first and the last two Movements (1, 2, 7, & 8). The first two are also notable for flavors of Japanese music, and the latter for some elements of Industrial music. By the way, the elements of Japanese music are present on many tracks, but not everywhere on the album. There are no pauses between the first two tracks, so they in many ways look like a single monolithic suite. The music is rather eclectic, highly intriguing, and is almost exclusively dramatic, which, though, is typical for most of the other tracks. Only the final part of the last movement is anthem-like and sounds a bit optimistic (rather, life-asserting), which, in my view, is a proper conclusion for the work. The third and sixth movements are my least favorite tracks on the album. The traditional synthesizer- and piano-based symphonic arrangements and orchestral ones, enriched here by brasses, flow to the accompaniment of very synthetically sounding electronic percussion, the use of which here was certainly unnecessary, at least in my view. The core tracks of the album contain much less of the choir parts than the others, and it works in most cases. On the fourth movement Janis Bradley sings alone, and on the fifth one along with a 'nameless' male operatic singer, and she really shines here. These two are the pieces of a pure Classical Academic Music, which is both amazingly profound and beautiful. A violin quartet, some chamber woodwinds, the harp, unbelievably impressive, highly feeling and charming vocals, and no electronics! Both are just brilliant compositions and are the unquestionable highlights of the album.
Conclusion. I believe I well comprehended the essence of "Chronicle", so I can hardly recommended it to the fans of Ambient and electronic music, as well as those whose tastes, if not to say horizons, are limited by some framework, which may concern even the lovers of classic Symphonic Progressive. In short, if you are on good footing with Classical Music, regardless of your principal genre orientation, you shouldn't miss this album.
VM: February 20, 2004
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