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(43 min, InterMusic IM-006 / M-Parallele MP 3050)
TRACK LIST: 1. Frog Time 0:45 2. 0-320 4:59 3. Expresso 4:44 4. Miss Sunny 2:46 5. Funky Machine 4:02 6. Midnight Metropolis 4:00 7. The Last Stream 3:31 8. Five 3:23 9. Changeable 3:22 10. D-Freak 3:24 11. The Second Man 1:45 12. 50 / 50 6:13 LINEUP: Hiroyuki Sekine - bass Issei Takami - guitar Toru Kubata - drums
Prolusion. "Space of Magic" is the debut CD of Japanese trio FROGFLAVOR, though the musicians have played in other bands before, Issei Takami still being a member of Bandvivil.
Analysis. This album arouses some blazing associations with "Shell" by their countrymen Naikaku and therefore (no rather, in some ways and merely accidentally) with King Crimson too, though due only to the guitar riff construction, as there are no angular RIO-like structures in this synthesis of Jazz-Fusion and heavy Rock. On the other hand, the brevity of the compositions, the powerfulness of the sound, plus the emphasized technical filigree of the band make "Space of Magic" similar to Liquid Tension Experiment and some of the notorious "guitar heroes", like Joe Satriani. In my view, Frogflavor are at times too keen on their virtuosity, not exactly to the detriment of their compositional ambitions, but anyway all these pyrotechnics and acrobatics make some of the tracks a bit soulless. I won't list the pieces performed under the unexpressed motto of "Music is sport"; there aren't many of such after all. I'd better name those I appreciate. The rapid jazzrocker Midnight Metropolis is impressive, as also is Expresso which is flavored by Oriental music, as well as the Prog-Metal-oriented 0-320 and The Second Man, the bluesy Last Stream, the moody 50/50 and, well, the funkish Funky Machine. Hiroyuki Sekine is the central personage of this drama, his bass sounding really heavy and powerful, at times louder than the other instruments. In such episodes even the wildest electric guitar solos seem to be less angry and aggressive than they are in reality, and you will not too much sin against the truth if you imagine the crapulent Motorhead finding themselves playing Jazz Metal to their great surprise. To my great surprise in turn, I sometimes feel I adore this strange sound.
Conclusion. The conclusion will be simple. Recommended to those liking the idea running all through the review.
VZ & VM: April 3, 2006
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