Being & Time's instrumental eponymous album has enjoyable moments but, ultimately, failed to deliver a fully satisfying progressive rock-jazz fusion experience. The album's enjoyable moments are let down by the unreined eclecticism that leads to an incoherent album.
Being & Time are another Japanese band who fuse progressive rock with jazz and other styles. They are a duo formed by Fuyuhiko Tani (guitar, guitar synthesizer, keyboard, programming) and Hiroshi Tsukagoshi (bass, programming). Bizarrely, on the CD cover slip the guys also list themselves as "psychologist (Ph.D.)" and "anaesthesiologist (M.D.)", although why anyone should want to know that in relation to a progressive rock fusion record is totally beyond me! Compared with other Japanese fusion bands that I have heard, Being & Time are less jazzy than Qui and less straight progressive rock than Baroka. Of the three albums that I've heard from these bands, Qui's eponymous album was the best structured and most enjoyable.
The album kicks off with lush synths on "Watchin' Your Inner Watch", then the guitar riffs – good – pick up on the equally short "Freddy ver 2.0". "The Concept of Time" then, is the first piece with some development and falls into "instrumental progressive rock", with the fourth piece "Floating Brain" being jazzier. We've been pretty short on strong melody thus far, the guys relying on rhythm and texture for main effect.
"Cloudy Moon" redresses the balance with a pretty melody but "Nerve Center" then goes totally off-beam with a rap/hip-hop fusion! By itself, "Nerve Center" is actually really good and great fun! – but we're six tracks in and there hasn't yet been a real thread between them, almost as if we're listening to a compilation album. "Led" develops its main theme on the bass before the guitar takes over; "Loops" mixes chamber orchestra sounds in the mix before becoming a heavy electro club-dance fusion! See what I mean?
Some sense of sanity and unity return with "Another Sky", another progressive rock instrumental, and the reprise of "Watchin' Your Inner Watch" but, overall the sonic threads uniting these diverse tracks are too diffuse.
So, nothing to complain about in the music, it's all good stuff and some of the more unusual fusions - "Nerve Center" and "Loops" - are great fun but, as a total listening experience, Being & Time fails to deliver. Perhaps it works better in a live environment but not on disc. More sense of "album" is needed next time. Of course, this may well be just the ticket for the download generation – if you belong to that then go for "Nerve Center" and "Loops"!
By the way, if you are interested in them and do an internet search, don't Google "Being & Time", do Being and Time instead, or you'll end up knowing all about German philosopher Martin Heidegger's famous book.
1) Watchin' Your Inner Watch (1:29)
2) Freddy ver 2.0 (1:18)
3) The Concept of Time (6:36)
4) Floating Brain (5:37)
5) Cloudy Moon (3:20)
6) Nerve Center (3:45)
7) Led (4:10)
8) Loops (3:14)
9) Another Sky (3:49)
10) Watchin' Your Inner Watch (Reprise) (1:41)