[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. Cos 1:50 2. Under-Dog's Blues 7:00 3. The Heap Suite 13:35 4. Afro Zone 8:08 5. Dada 12:13 All tracks: by Fukushima. Produced by Morsof. Engineered by S. Fukuoka. LINE-UP: Miko Fukushima - saxophones Norivumi Uchida - bass Morihide Sawada - drums With: Miyako Kanazawa - piano & synthesizers Yui Ando - guitar Yoshinaru Izutsu - guitar Kenta Hamano - trombone
Prolusion. "Heap" is the debut album by the Japanese band Morsof, which is the derivative of Morning and Soft Machine. I am not sure about "Morning", but that famous UK band is probably the main source of inspiration of these guys.
Synopsis. Notably, it turned out that the band plays an original music, which can hardly be compared to that on any of Soft Machine's albums. The first two tracks here: Cos and Under-Dog's Blues aren't that impressive. Stylistically, they're about Classic Jazz-Fusion with masterful solos of all the instruments involved and are very good compositionally. On the other hand, they contain many repetitions and are obviously lacking changes of tempo, which makes them almost instantly accessible. In some ways, these two remind me of the title track and similar compositions from Return To Forever's famous "Hymn to the Seventh Galaxy", which, unlike most of the other albums Chick Corea released under the vehicle of RTF, I never considered a classic. Nevertheless, two aren't a heap, are they? Everything has changed on The Heap Suite (3), starting with which, I can say that each of the further compositions on the album is much better than its predecessor. The music becomes much more complex, intricate, and interesting: with very frequent, unexpected changes of theme and tempo, virtuosi solos of bass, guitar, keyboards (mainly piano) and brass instruments crossing each other by unusual parabolas to the accompaniment of amazingly diverse drumming, and just everything necessary to keep the listener's attention. If there still are some mellow parts on The Heap Suite, which represents a blend of Jazz-Fusion and RIO, both of the last compositions on the album: Afro Zone and Dada (4 & 5) consist exclusively of highly eclectic and completely unpredictable arrangements and are simply mind-blowing. These two are done in the vein of that direction of RIO, which was pioneered by Henry Cow on their last (and best, in my view) album "Western Culture". Wonderful stuff worthy of the status of super-masterpiece!
Conclusion. After hearing the first two tracks, I have certainly not expected that these youngsters would perform such a highly complex and very intriguing music as is presented on the second half of the album. I am sure its follow-up will be brilliant from the first to the last note. In all, "Heap" features more than enough virtues to be named one of the most glorious debuts of the year.
VM: December 9, 2003
[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]