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TRACK LIST: 1. Left Window 11:18 2. 006 6:49 3. Crawler-A 9:33 4. Ripple 6:43 5. Seventeen 6:24 6. Foghone 5:21 7. New Era Has Come 13:39 All tracks: by Tsuboy, except 3, 6, & 7: by Kido. LINE-UP: Akihisa Tsuboy - violin Natsuki Kido - guitar Produced by Tsuboy & Kido. Engineered by Tsuboy.
Prolusion. Violinist Akihisa Tsuboy and guitarist Natsuki Kido are well known for being the founders and leaders of >KBB and >Bondage Fruit respectively and the members of a few of the other contemporary Japanese bands and projects, among which, in my view, >String Arguments is especially notable.
Synopsis. It's not news to us 'classic' Prog-heads that there is a direction in the contemporary Japanese Progressive Rock movement that has not that much in common with Progressive Rock as such despite the fact that it was formed by people we used to know exactly as Progressive Rock musicians. (Sorry for the involuntary tautologies.) The point is that these people in general and Akihiko Tsuboy and Natsuki Kido in particular just try to realize themselves as classical composers and musicians, too, and their efforts on this field do certainly not limited by a wish to afford pleasure to themselves. For me, for instance, such kinds of music as is presented on this album are of a much greater importance and interest than the most part of Neo Progressive's creatures. Well, "Era" is an album of Contemporary Chamber Classical Academic Music (sometimes with elements of Jazz Classical Music), and all seven of the compositions here consist of constantly developing, yet, always harmonious and beautiful interplay between passages of violin and solos, passages, and rhythms of acoustic guitar wits lots of tempo contrasts and other amazing progressive features. The musical palette of each of them is very rich in different moods and shades (which is typical for Classical Music in general), and nevertheless, with the exception of those on Left Window (1), most of the arrangements on the album are notable for dramatics and a light sorrow. However, there is one piece on "Era": Seventeen (5) that, with its highly complex compositional and rhythmic structures, distinct atonalities, and quite a dark, tense atmosphere, is the entity of Avant-garde Academic Music rather than the Classical one. Furthermore, some parts there are accompanied by the heavy violin riffs (yeah) and arouse quite clear associations with RIO.
Conclusion. "Era" is a gem of Chamber Classical Music that will never become boring. If you're generally into a serious progressive music and, especially, Classical Music, don't turn a deaf ear to this album!
VM: October 24, 2003
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