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Baraka - 2010 - "Inner Resonance"

(49:39, Musea Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Palm Trees of the Maldives 5:21
2.  Reflected Waves 5:18
3.  Plunge from the Darkness 2:27
4.  Atlantic 5:54
5.  Seam of the Globe 7:09
6.  Yggdrasil 3:35
7.  The Chair Made of Guns 8:50
8.  Gate to Principle 6:20
9.  The Definition 4:56


Issei Takami  guitar; guitar synthesizer
Shin Ichikawa  bass 
Max Hiraishi  drums 

Prolusion. The Japanese trio BARAKA was formed in 1997, and has steadily evolved ever since. Sporting the same line-up throughout, they started their recording career with a self-titled production in 1999. "Inner Resonance" was released in the spring of 2010, and is the ninth full length album by this band.

Analysis. Baraka aims to take the classic power trio format into new musical realms, citing prog rock, jazz, funk and blues as their main stylistic inspirations, which they want to combine with their own musical escapades. On this latest effort, these multiple genre influences crystallize in the shape of compositions exploring vastly different musical landscapes rather than combining all aspects into each and every number, more or less dividing the disc into three different parts. Opening track Palm Trees of the Maldives, the following piece Reflected Waves and final composition The Definition appears to be pretty close in style to what Canadian legends Rush took on some 30 years ago. A driving bass underscore and staccato guitar themes are applied alongside fluctuating synth themes in the back, while steady rhythms are the backbone of the proceedings. The next segment of the disc opens with Plunge from the Darkness and ends with Seam of the Globe. This part of the disc was the one I found to be most interesting, sporting synth textures of a somewhat more dramatic nature, a higher degree of instrumental details of a jazz-fusion inspired nature and generally compositions of a more challenging dimension. While Baraka tends to avoid overly complex and contrasting creations, subtle details and sophisticated use of slight dissonances and disharmonies are deployed to good effect here, even if the overall atmosphere has stronger tendencies towards dreamlike territories. Yggdrasil kicks in the most tranquil part of this disc, where recurring, slowly fluctuating synth backdrops dominate, and the compositions close in on new age in overall style. Yggdrasil is a successful creation in that respect, sporting a recurring secondary motif that adds a hypnotic dimension to the track that prevails throughout, and the addition of a sitar towards the end manages to craft a neat and logical conclusion. The following two efforts, taking on this stylistic universe, are less interesting endeavors, as far as my perception goes, though, first and foremost due to the themes crafted on these pieces being somewhat overly explored. The guitar synthesizer is rich in sound and has been given a dominating place in the mix. This creates a unique spacey atmosphere throughout. Subtle details in each composition tend to set up the premise for the next track, with the overall effect of creating the experience of an instrumental conceptual journey. Not always taking the listener into highly fascinating realms, but a uniform and logical effort despite the stylistic variety provided.

Conclusion. Baraka is a band that seems to place their emphasis on strong and distinct atmospheres rather than instrumental virtuosity and clever compositional features. Not that the latter aspects are missing, but they never dominate the proceedings and tend to be of a subdued and subtle nature. I would imagine fans of early 80s Rush to be a core audience for this CD, especially those amongst them who enjoy sophisticated new age efforts as well.

OB=Olav M Bjornsen: Septemb 28, 2010
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Musea Records


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