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TRACK LIST: 1. Sakura 11:19 2. Haru no sono 5:32 3. Suzukaze 7:17 4. Shinato no kaze 5:01 5. Takamura 8:30 6. Yukimushi 10:29 All tracks: by Anan. LINE-UP: Junya Anan - keyboards Futaba Tanaami - vocals; flute Yasuo Asakura - guitars Keiichi Yanagawa - bass Keita Kamiyama - drums & percussion Produced by Mizukagami. Engineered by H. Kashimura at "Chapter House".
Prolusion. Like in the case of most of the other reviews I have written this week, all I can put here is that Mizukagami's eponymous album is their debut.
Synopsis. And yet another superb album that even the Titans of Prog would be proud of! And while the other great recent releases - the albums by Peter Frohmader's Nekropolis and Taylor's Free Universe - are above all destined for the most profound connoisseurs of progressive music, "Mizukagami" will be like honey for souls of all the lovers of classic (!) symphonic forms of Progressive Rock without exception. The album features six long songs, all of which are stylistically uniform and are about Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Japanese music done in the best traditions of the genre, and yet, without any influences. Each of the songs contains a lot of different vocal and instrumental themes, sub-themes, etc, and is characterized by the frequent alternation of intensive and soft arrangements, most of which while being different from each other, too, are definitely dramatic in character. The music is both highly original and complex and is filled with outstandingly virtuosi and tasteful solos by all of the band members, without exception. Varied, yet, always intricate interlacing of solos of electric and bass guitar, those of acoustic guitar and flute, tons of Hammond and Mellotron, a very strong and inventive drumming: all of this, being raised to the power of a highest ProGfessionalism, makes Mizukagami sounding like one of the best Symphonic Art-Rock bands marvelously arrived to the new millennium straight from the old 'n' gold 1970s. More. Japan is certainly much richer in 'women of Prog' than any other country, and Futaba Tanaami is assuredly the best Japanese female singer I've ever heard. But although her theatrically dramatic singing is definitely one of the most important constituents of the band's music, purely instrumental arrangements cover about two thirds of the album. However, Futaba always remains in the ranks, and her playing a flute is as diverse and masterful as her singing. There is nothing superfluous in this album with a playing time (48 min) typical for the LP format (it doesn't exceed 60 minutes), which, in my view, is still the most appropriate framework for any kinds of musical works.
Conclusion. "Mizukagami" is a very intriguing, splendidly tasteful, and fantastically impressive album. I think this is one of the best Symphonic Art-Rock releases for the last three years, at least, and is probably the best Mellotron-related album since Anglagard's "Epilog". Cinderella Search, Cinema, Pageant, and most of the other Japanese Symphonic Art-Rock bands, hats off to Mizukagami!
VM: July 30, 2003
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