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(36:30, Musea & Intermusic Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Watching Your Inner Watch 1:28 2. Freddy Version 2.0 1:18 3. The Concept of Time 6:32 4. Floating Brain 5:33 5. Cloudy Moon 3:15 6. Nerve Center 3:40 7. Led 4:05 8. Loops 3:10 9. Another Sky 3:49 10. Watching Your Inner Watch Reprise 1:40 LINEUP: Fuyuhiko Tani – guitar, guitar synth; keyboards, programming Hiroshi Tsukagoshi – bass; programming
Prolusion. BEING & TIME is a Japanese duo of multi-instrumentalist Fuyuhiko Tani and bassist Hiroshi Tsukagoshi. They started recording material for an album back in 2007, and in early 2009 they were signed by their native label Poseidon Records for their home market and the French company Musea Records for international distribution. Their self-titled debut album was subsequently issued on the sub-labels Intermusic and Musea Parallele respectively.
Analysis. Being & Time describes itself as a fusion act, in the vein of UK, Allan Holdsworth and Yes. A description which most surely will raise a few eyebrows, first and foremost for the last of the three acts mentioned as examples. And I'll imagine that most fans of any of these three outfits will find this effort to be rather alien in sound as well, and while those who normally enjoy Allan Holdsworth's efforts might be ones open-minded about this creation, I believe it's safe to state that with a few notable exceptions they are the ones least likely to find familiar sounding material on this effort as well. With programmed rhythms and cold synths pretty much dominating all numbers, the mood and atmosphere of this album is pretty sterile and technical. The drums are heavier in expression and pretty well programmed, and do come across as much more interesting and less machine-like than on many other ventures I've encountered over the years, but it's still obvious that the rhythms are made by a machine. The synth layers, most times floating textures, tend to remove whatever warmth is provided by the other instruments, and the overall effect is emotionally cold and futuristic. Apart from the shorter mood pieces, most of the efforts here have melodic guitar soloing and wandering, undistorted guitar patterns as additional features, with a steady bass underscoring them. Atmospheric and gentle more than challenging in expression, the overall style is one fairly close to the stylistic expression known as Neo-Progressive. Those expecting a sound like Marillion and Pendragon will be disappointed though, but if one can imagine an outfit like Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream performing compositions by the aforementioned acts you'd probably be somewhat closer to what this is all about. Add in a trio of numbers featuring heavy, distorted guitar riffs and an approach closer to fusion in expression and you have this album covered.
Conclusion. Being & Time is without doubt a talented outfit and its take on art rock of the Neo-Progressive variety with a select few excursions towards fusion is at times pretty interesting. Some efforts do fall flat and others don't really stir the emotions too much, but when its blend of sounds and influences is successful the end result is well worth experiencing – as long as you're not expecting highly advanced music. A mixed effort overall, but with glimpses of great talent and quite a few entertaining excursions.
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