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Mugen - Sinfonia Della Luna CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 30 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First studio album by Mugen, Japanese band championed by keyboardist Katsuhiko Hayashi and aiming at the preservation of progressive rock after the end of the 70s. Tha band's overall style is rooted on influences received from PFM, Renaissance and The Enid, with touches of Genesis, late 70s Wakeman and Camel scattered in places whenever things are taken to more a more intense level. The final result of the sort of sound elaborated in this album certainly makes the band a hybrid of Pageant, Mr. Sirius and Midas: this band is evidently apart from the peculiarly sinister symphonic trend of Outer Limits, the Canterburian ideology of Ain Soph and the Crimsonian dogmatism of Bi Kyo Ran. The namesake piece opens up teh album with agile, epic moods, with atmospheres tightly placed on recurrently slow tempos: the spacey intro is just lovely in its eerie portrait of cosmic atmospheres. The emergence of some explicitly extroverted arrangements manage to generate an exciting dynamics in the main melodic developments. 'Magical Wand' has a more defined agility, and indeed it sounds related to the neo-prog standard in some ways, but arguably the highest dose of agility is concentrated in track no. 4, entitled 'Dance? Romantic' - this track comprises influences from ATOTT-era Genesis and "Criminal Record"-era Wakeman. The brotherhood of digital and vintage keyboards on an exciting rhythmic structure that alternates 5/4 and 7/8 tempos makes this track a particular highlight. Between these two tracks is 'Venezia', a moderately pompous exhibition of typical symphonic prog staged as a ballad. 'A Parade of the Wonderland' is a brief pastoral excursion that announces teh core theme of teh album's closer, 'Ballo della Luna'. This one gets started with lovely acoustic guitar harmonizations, and it eventually turns to a magnified exercise on symphonic splendor, combining the elegant energy of Bozzio-era UK and the constructed vibe of late 70s Camel. This is how the original vinyl ends, but the CD edition brings a bonus track called 'Leonardo', a pastoral song with subtle cosmic undertones. Even though it is a bonus track, it sure provides an adequate ending for this listening experience. Even though this album does not match the energy that will be exprssed in the band's final release "The Princess of Kingdom Gone", this happens to be, IMHO, a very good addtion to any good prog collection. I grant 3.75 starts to this one.

Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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