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Lu7 : L'espirit de l'exil

Peel away the faux Celtic section of the first few minutes and Lu7 get stuck straight in with a rather eclectic and compelling set of songs that admittedly took some time to finally sink in. Thankfully, the wait was well worth the extra effort as the complexity and unique qualities this CD possesses, become more readily apparent with repeated listens.

Lu7 is comprised of Tsutomu Kurihara who is an extremely talented guitarist, an equally clever keyboardist named Luna Umegaki and a generous handful of other fellow minstrels whose accompaniment certainly add up to an interesting mix.

The band waste no time in establishing a signature guitar sound that is very reminiscent of Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, Janne Schaffer and even America's newest sensation, Scott Jones (whose music has been reviewed elsewhere on this site). These very engaging set of songs are perfectly underpinned by some imaginative keyboard passages that have been carefully crafted to enhance and not dominate each piece. Whether a Middle Eastern or ethnic influence is called upon or a slightly more pastoral or new age effect is required, the band seem to have no trouble in embellishing each song with some dextrous flourishes and passages that bring a more cohesive finish to the music.

Although the songs on the middle of the CD adopt a more sombre and mellow approach, this certainly is not a criticism as the effect is immediately rewarding and offers a short respite from the more vibrant songs that precede and follow them and without the listener being aware of any dramatic change. Like a chameleon, constantly changing its disguise, the bands music moves quickly from either being upbeat and compelling, to a more laid back series of tracks to those offering an infectiously toe-tapping style that makes for a thoroughly enjoyable ride. If the sweetness of Anri Sekine's stunning violin doesn't make an impact, then it will be the occasional sounds of the melodion, the Great Highland Bagpipes or the engaging addition of some brilliant fretless bass work that augments the bands music with a very subtle and imaginative way of giving the listener more than their money's worth.

In many senses, the band have managed to fuse so many stylistically challenging influences and methods within the confines of each song, one wonders just how far a band like this could go. It's not as if the Japanese music market is bereft of any talent in the progressive music realm, considering the enormous input bands such as Ars Nova, Gerard, Pageant, Kenso and so many others have made. Given adequate exposure and with a possible name change away from something that has more to do with chemical compounds rather than music, Lu7 could possibly garner as much recognition as other label mates on Musea have achieved.

If anything, new, top shelf, jazz fusion is becoming pretty hard to find on a regular basic. Thankfully, Lu7 have just raised the bar a notch and can comfortably add their name to the list by offering such a refreshingly different style with this, their second release. Well done guys, keep up the good work!

Track Listings:

1. Itsumo Hajimari (1.30)
2. Canary Creeper (5.11)
3. Golem (6.45)
4. Bluetail Of Passage (4.33)
5. Air Flow (5.16)
6. Secret Recipe (4.50)
7. L'espirit de l'exil (7.03)
8. Mariana's Garden (5.30)
9. Danse Rituelle du Feu (Ballet Musique "El Amour Brujo" (5.52)
10. Ripple (6.20)

Added: April 14th 2006
Reviewer: Greg Cummins
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 2342
Language: english

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