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(49:09, Musea/Poseidon Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Wild Ocean 4:30 2. Windmezzo 1:46 3. Enemy God 3:59 4. Days After 5:25 5. Berlingia 4:10 6. Airly Tale 4:56 7. Poseidonia 3:17 8. Dreamseeker 3:32 9. Awaker 6:02 10. Psycollapse 4:30 11. Long Road 6:20 LINEUP: Takuya Morita vocals keyboards Masami Katsuura guitars Kazuo Katayama drums Hiroaki Fuji bass With: Sakko Ishino violin &: Three more guitar players
Prolusion. The Japanese band QUASER was originally formed back in 1976, and was an active live unit until disbanding in the early 80's. But following a decade of inactivity the members decided to give it a second go, and have been a going concern since 1993. "Delta Flux" is their most recent production, and was released by Poseidon Records in Japan and Musea Records worldwide in 2011.
Analysis. Defining the music of Quaser is an interesting exercise. This is a unit that undoubtedly belongs well inside the borders of the art rock universe, and their foundation is probably somewhere within the symphonic part of it. But they do skip around quite a bit, with the occasional jazz-oriented bass line, several instances of gentle pop-rock oriented sequences of a more mainstream nature, and aren't afraid to include cinematic, ambient sequences either. Rougher sounding, harder edged guitar riffs have their use as well. The interesting bit about this band is how they develop their compositions, starting off with an initial theme, be it of a generic, ballad oriented nature, harder edged heavy prog type of material or ambient, elegant motifs. And then either enrich the arrangements, pair them off with a theme of a contrasting nature and then skip back and forth between themes or arrangements prior to combining them obviously with inserts added in or variations of these basic approaches utilized along the way. But no matter how a song opens, no matter where it eventually ends up, along the way the calling cards for symphonic progressive rock will be present. Not usually by way of majestic, symphonic backdrops however. Instead it's by individual presumably synthesized instrument layers, performed in a manner that references to classical music to a greater extent than symphonic prog, with chamber music an association that comes to mind just as often as a classical orchestra. This to the extent that I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of these themes would reappear in one or more productions of contemporary classical music. We're provided with a fair degree of elaborate and at times intricate instrument maneuvers that enable these associations, at least as I experience this production: smooth and free flowing and with a tendency to stick to a harmonic approach, but also with room for themes of a subtly more challenging nature. Multiple layers exploring the same theme with delay effects for instance, harder edged guitar riffs that come across pretty much as a rock alternative to a section of backing violins supporting a soloist, sparse bass and drum foundations for layered symphonic keyboard textures to act upon. The compositions aren't of an instantaneous nature however; this is rather a production that needs time and repetition to sink in. Initially a pleasant experience that I presume will be compared to neo progressive rock on initial inspections, but with subtle details and nuances that reveal themselves as you get more familiar with the album. At the same time this isn't a daring, challenging production either. The core material and most of the dominating themes are of an easy to like and easy to listen to nature, often fairly accessible. In an art rock context neither fish nor fowl as far as the neo and symphonic descriptions are concerned, one that will appeal to both or neither.
Conclusion. Quaser's fourth full length production documents a band secure in its nature, featuring material of a fairly refined nature, generally melodic and harmonic, but with a fair degree of details for the attentive listener to savor. As far as a target audience is concerned, fans of neo progressive rock and symphonic art rock should both take the time to find out if "Delta Flux" is a production that could be to their liking. My estimated guess is that they'll appeal to any of the factions.
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