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(73 min, Poseidon & Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Discontinuous Spiral 8:45 2. Inner Flames 11:55 3. Shironiji 13:01 4. I Am Not Here 10:51 5. Horobi No Kawa 6:47 6. Nessa No Kioku 10:39 7. Hatenaki Shoudou 9:34 LINEUP: Akihisa Tsuboy - violin Toshimitsu Takahashi - keyboards Shirou Sugano - drums Dani - bass
Prolusion. This live album is the third outing by the well-known Japanese quartet KBB, following their two studio albums: "Four Corner's Sky" (2003) and "Lost & Found" (2000). The compilation is made up of seven tracks, presenting different stages of the band's studio activity, though one of them, Inner Flames, is a new composition.
Analysis. It is necessary to recognize that the Japanese are well known for their accuracy. That's why the quality of their production is widely accepted in the world. Concerning the album in question, they have achieved a major success in their creative endeavor as well. The concert album "Live 2004" by KBB is a vivid example of both of the musicians' mastery and the recording's brilliance. Even the most experienced connoisseur will hardly find any blurred fragment or sound misbalance in this release. Stylistically, the music belongs to the trend, which can be defined as an instrumental progressive-art-rock with jazz-fusion, RIO and space-rock influences. The program's content is diverse enough to note that anxious and gloomy episodes turn into lucid and serene ones, the avant-garde atonality transforms into classically austere fragments with the predomination of violin solos. Discontinuous Spiral is a heady opener. The impression it brings is pleasant in general. Despite its attraction however, a certain melodic monotony in the part of violin takes place. The compositional development is evident here, but mainly due to the introduction of Toshimitsu Takahashi's keyboard passages. Inner Flames can be characterized as the most heavy-sounding track on the album. Its intensity is a result of the enhancement of bass guitar. The main theme itself isn't that inventive, but the skill and virtuosity that the musicians demonstrate throughout, with the addition of some effective timbre usage, make this composition quite expressive. The presence of basso-ostinato structures is stipulated by its relationship to RIO. A similar approach is obvious on I Am Not Here as well, though on this track the band players turned to the 20th century avant-garde classic in a larger portion. The parts of both violin and grand piano are brilliant and the musical atmosphere is marvelous. Shironiji, the most prolonged composition in the program, sounds more rigid and academic. Its emotional coloration is lyrically sad; the progress isn't rapid, but is distinctly evident. The sense of moderation that the musicians demonstrate here is astonishing. The melodic themes on this track, and also on Horobi No Kawa, are nice and are full of spirituality, though the rhythm section could have been more intricate. The sixth opus, Nessa No Kioku, has a certain difference in comparison with the previous ones, because of its oriental flavor. The arrangements are partly made in the space-rock traditions, but on the whole, the composition sounds energetically and doesn't belong to that trend. The final opus, Hatenaki Shoudou, is attractive throughout. It's inventive, intricate and diverse both structurally and emotionally. The only shortcoming to note here is some monotony in rhythmic measures.
Conclusion. It's not difficult to sit down in a comfortable chair and count all the pros and cons of the program, which has been performed live and played with such a passion, mastery and energetic message. There must be not only a technical skill and virtuosity in the arsenal of the musicians, but a solid experience and authentic inspiration as well. Akihisa Tsuboy together with his band mates is an owner of all these virtues. So, my strong recommendation regarding this release is addressed to everyone considering Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion and RIO.
VF: January 11, 2006
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