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(50 min, Musea & InterMusic)
TRACK LIST: 1. Moratorium 1:24 2. World Update 3:29 3. Lapstone 4:36 4. Depth Interview 3:37 5. Loveless 3:54 6. Soundscape 11:08 7. A Priori 1:37 8. Silence Without Humanity 5:24 9. Swan Song 6:03 10. The Uncertainty of Life 4:11 11. Yin & Yang 4:32 All tracks: by Goto. Produced by Goto. SOLO PILOT: Tadashi Goto - all instruments
Prolusion. Tadashi GOTO is a one-man ensemble from Japan. "Soundscape" is his first brainchild to see the light of day on an official CD release.
Analysis. "All instruments" turned out to be just synthesizers. Amongst the others, the booklet features a photograph with Goto taking a guitar in his hand, but in fact, our man plays only synthesizers and programs all other parts on the album, which is an entirely instrumental affair, of course. While the music is abundant in sounds of various non-keyboard instruments (electric guitar, vibraphone, sax, trumpet et al.), all of them were elicited directly from synthesizers and, thus, they don't sound that realistic. I also disliked the drum sounds, though the programming of a drum machine was done well enough to aptly accent tempo changes. On the other hand, I am really amazed at Goto's compositional talent and his mastery of playing keyboards, as well as his ability to use the technical possibilities of synthesizers, which allowed him to create a lushly saturated picture, typical for full-band efforts rather than those by solo pilots. In the overall musical context, the album is very impressive, and in spite of what the title may suggest, it has nothing to do with soundscapes and Electronic music as such, not to mention non-composed stuff: e.g. sound design and music building. All eleven of the compositions are done in the same style, which is a blend of Jazz-Fusion and symphonic Art-Rock (with the slight prevalence of the former genre) with some classical and even Metal-like intonations here and there, structurally and by complexity comparable to ELP and Brand X, but with no direct influences. Goto spreads the high amplitude of intensity of the music throughout the album, and there is little place for rest on the majority of tracks. The compositions are highly dynamic, with hurricane-like keyboard solos, 'electric guitar' and 'fretless bass' crossing each other by inconceivable parabolas at the forefront of the arrangements. It's as if you're driving on a switchback when listening to this stuff. Among the exceptions are Swan Song, which has a rather long jazzy piano postlude, and Yin & Yang. In a full accordance with its title, which characterizes male and female substances, the latter combines soft piano-laden arrangements with harsh and aggressive sounding ones. The title track is a minor highlight, because it's some more diverse than the others only due to its longevity (11 minutes).
Conclusion. "Soundscape" is an eventful, very intriguing musical adventure, though I would've been happier had the material been performed at least with acoustic drums. If Goto can hook up a bassist and drummer, we'll get a cool keyboard trio.
VM: July 12, 2005
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