Japan's Machine and the Synergetic Nuts are back with a vengeance on their sophomore release Leap Second Neutral, their first for Cuneiform Records. Canterbury and fusion fans will fall head-over-heels in love with this CD, as a multitude of complex, quirky, and challenging sounds permeate each of the nine instrumental tunes, yet keep the overall vibe firmly in a happy medium between prog and jazz. It's one of those releases that prompts you to hit the replay button time and time again, with each new listen bringing new and unexpected pleasures.
While the band fluctuates back and forth between funky jazz and rock firepower on a few cuts, especially on the burner "Neutral" which sees Iwata Noriya's majestic piano do battle with the searing and distorted guitar licks of Matsue Jun, this is mostly a complex and fusiony affair. The scorching opener "M-B" is like a chapter right out of the National Health/Gilgamesh/Soft Machine book of Canterbury rock, led by Noriya's rampaging Hammond tone that reminds instantly of vintage Dave Stewart. "Stum" is filled with tons of off-kilter sax riffs from Mahi-Mahi and intricate rhythms from bassist Suzuki Hiroyuki and drummer Sudoh Toshiaki.
On "Oz", the band goes for some sounds that rival classic Return to Forever, complete with electric piano, funky guitar riffs, yet with wild, complex sax lines. They break out the heavy stomp on "Solid Box", a pounding number that recalls Deep Purple as much as it does Happy Family or National Health, as the band combines hard rock, jazz, and wild fusion for a intense affair. You want to hear heavy organ-check this one out!
There's insanely complex prog-fusion on the burning "Texas", a real organ/sax workout, and just when you are feeling out of breath the band slows down a bit for the Soft Machine influenced "Normal", complete with awesome organ passages and melodic sax, not to mention creepy Mellotron.
This is wonderful stuff, and with Leap Second Neutral I predict that Machine and the Synergetic Nuts will leap to the forefront of not only the Japanese prog-fusion pack, but the international prog-fusion-Canterbury scene as well. Highly recommended!
1) M-B (7:18)
2) Monaco (2:28)
3) Trout (6:22)
4) Neutral (7:49)
5) Stum (4:44)
6) OZ (5:51)
7) Solid Box (7:08)
8) Texas (5:13)
9) Normal (7:24)