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Zettaimu: Miroque

This is the fourth of a number of occasional album releases by a band formed by Japanese guitar player Hisashi Furue who also contributes some bass and piano. The album's bookends are an atmospheric piece for synth and percussion entitled "Red Moon". In between we have seven superb songs which mix progressive music ideas with traditional Japanese sensibilities.

The bass and dampened drums create an ominous undertone around the first song, "I don't need anything else". Kanako, the band's female singer, delivers the Japanese lyrics with a mix of delicacy and vocal expression reminiscent of a rather less frenetic Kate Bush or Bjork. The guitar and percussion have a crystalline clarity in production which is very typical of the more pastoral side of Japenese prog such as Asturias or Vermillion Sands.

The lament which follows " Anyone is loved by someone" is in similar vein with plaintive breathy vocals and a jazz-tinged arrangement for an expressive bass, acoustic guitar and drums.

The tempo is accelerated for the next track, "Time like an arrow", the vaguely flamenco sounding percussion skipping along to a jerky marching rhythm supported by metallic guitar chords.

The one English song, "Jennifer", features a male and female duet delivering the short lovelorn ballad. A beautiful weeping guitar accompanies the distorted middle vocal section creating a dreamy atmosphere.

"Sharan" is a wistful, minimalist composition for guitar and solo voice. As the song develops the faded bass becomes more powerful raising a climactic end. "Icarus" is an agitated, intricate, composition which switches from odd metres into standard rock formats through verse and chorus. One of the highlights of the album.

In the final piece, "Time perplexes time oneself", there is a Crimsonian feel to the dark angular arrangement. A vocal alternating between high and low registers is fed by a Fripp-like perpetual guitar and a grungey bass. In a schizophrenic change of style, the song changes in the middle to a light joyful guitar and vocal before returning to its more reflective and aggressive opening motifs.

Overall, a sophisticated and well presented piece of progressive rock.

Track Listing
1. Red Moon prologue
2. I don't need anything else
3. Anyone is loved by someone
4. Time like an arrow
5. Jennifer
6. Sharan
7. Icarus
8. Time perplexes time oneself
9. Red Moon epilogue

Added: May 8th 2007
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: Garando Records
Hits: 2620
Language: english

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