Wappa ( in Japanese policeman slang) = handcuffs. Gappa ( in Chinese character can be read as ) = I break it.
Third effort for this japanese band. Gappa is an excellent mixture of modern symphonic progressive, with touches of pop and jazz fusion thrown into the mix. The lyrics, all penned in Japanese, come to us courtesy of vocalist Tamami Yamamoto, whose clear soprano voice soars over the music. This East meets West musical marriage is best explained by Ms Yamamoto herself: " We are japanese musicians raised in a westernized musical environment. Our creation naturally has a mixture of western and japanese and will not exaggerate orientalism without need. As a lyrics writer I always try to preserve and use old and beautiful japanese words which are now disappearing".
Through the English translations, we can read and appreciate her poetic prose, though I'm sure some of the meaning is slightly distorted.
Now if this band began and ended with the vocals, it would be easy to dismiss the group as " yet another new symphonic/ neo band". Ms Yamamoto's musical cohorts rise to the challenge and elevate the music . Let me first mention the excellent fretwork of guitarist Yasuhiro Tachibana. Throughout the lengthy instrumental passages contained in each track, he demonstrates and excellent mastery of his guitar and a great sense of musical timing, always knowing when to lay back and let the song breathe, and when to stoke it with an impressive barrage of Holdsworth-like note frenetic shredding.Also equal to the challenge is keyboardist Hideaki Nagaike, who, although more subdued in the mix, still lays down some great analog and digital keyboard fills.Not to be overlooked, the rythm section of Keizo Endo (bass) and Hiroshi Mineo (drums) prove that they're more than up to the musical task at hand.
A surprising disc which caught me off-guard and made me shed certain preconceived notions I may have had when I first received it. It should appeal to fans of well constructed new symphonic music which are open-minded enough to appreciate the Japanese vocals.
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