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ExhiVision: ExhiVision

Four players from other groups, united to deliver their own spin on the time-tested electric jazz~rock formula. In essence, a supergroup? Well, quite possibly. Bowing in at the keyboards is Sense Of Wonder leader and J-Rock mainstay, Hiroyuki Namba; on guitar is Prism's Akira Wada; drumming is hotshot sessioner Kohji Hasegawa; and assuming fretless bass duty is one Toshimi Nagai, formerly of Vienna and pre-trio Gerard. Not exactly household names to those ignorant of Japan's robust progressive scene, but each muso is quite the stylist which will be made abundantly clear to all who tune in to Exhivision's debut.

Comparisons to Kenso were a bit hurried, but not exactly valid. Rather, think of Side Steps: those cats have the chops, but their compositions fall to the generic side a little too often now eliminate that pitfall and add Namba's superior tonal palette. The rhythm section of Nagai and Hasegawa matches the shooting-star histrionics of Namba and Wada note-for-piercing-note. Expectedly, shades of Return To Forever resonate, though many listeners may find they prefer this to the East's answer to RTF, Roundhouse. "Scent Of Nova" immediately establishes who the old/new kids in town are with tasteful if forceful chord progressions, nimble-fingered soloing and exquisite phrasing. Namba's and Wada's alternately whirly and wiry solos on "Ice Bound" will chill the spine, but the lethal crunch-chords and biting organ volleys of "Other Side" will warm the soul. "Double Down" suggests the Texas Hold 'Em craze has seized Tokyo, but concern will be fleeting as the synergy between the quarters builds to a dizzying intensity. Wayne Shorter once remarked that "composition is just improvisation slowed way down," but whether the juncture between both formats is exceptionally relevant here is arguable the eight compositions are wound tightly enough, but never to the point rigidity masquerades as frailty. ExhiVision is an outstanding album of new fusion. Recommended.


1. Scent Of Nova (6:49)
2. Double Down (5:36)
3. Ice Bound (8:07)
4. Other Side (4:43)
5. Night View (6:24)
6. |title| (9:10)
7.Windyne (7:11)
8. Faerie Take (7:01)

Total time 55:13

Added: March 11th 2005
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: shiosai~ZiZo Official Home Page
Hits: 5779
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

ExhiVision: ExhiVision
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-03-11 18:53:20
My Score:

Surprise, surpise! Here's another 2004 release that slipped itself away from my grasp until two months into 2005, and after hearing this about a dozen times there's no doubt this was one of the best fusion releases of last year. The spirit of both Chick Corea's Return to Forever and The Elektric Band, as well as bands like UK, Bruford, and Kenso, are alive and well and seething in the veins of the members of ExhiVision. There are chops aplenty within the grooves of the CD's eight tracks, but the band never sacrifices melody for the sake of showing off. Listen to Akira Wada's velvety smooth Holdsworth inspired guitar solos snake around the Melltron and Hammond patches from Hiroyuki Namba's keyboard, as the huge wall of sound they are creating is perfectly supplemented by the rhythmic charge of bassist Toshimi Negai and drummer Kohji Hasegawa. Simply wonderful stuff. Elsewhere, you will find deep grooves and melodies that are instantly catchy, crunchy guitar riffs that will almost have you banging your head, nimble keyboard flights, and brilliant atmospheric passages by the whole ensemble.

This CD burns and soothes, impresses and delights, and gets my vote for must have fusion release from 2004. Japan continues to provide some of the hottest sounds in progressive music, and ExhiVision is leading the charge. Bravo!

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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