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Ars Nova (JAP) - Biogenesis Project CD (album) cover

BIOGENESIS PROJECT

Ars Nova (JAP)

 

Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 43 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Future Oriented Scientific Space Progressive Rock

What a confusing sub-genre!! --- I have known this band quite sometime ago (mid nineties, I think) and just recently (couple months ago already) got the CD. My first impression is still they're gonna play ELP like music as I knew the band since the first time. It's not the case with this album, actually. ELP music has never got any "spacey" element but this album of three gals from Japan has a lot of space rock elements: Klaus Schulze, Jean Michelle Jare, Larry Fast, etc blend with symphonic rock style. If you have listened to Ayreon "Human Equation", you got it right! It's in a way similar to that kind of music. I would say it's a future oriented scientific-based space progressive rock (my term). If you correspond the music with the movie it's the kind of "Matrix" or "Resident Evil". Well, it's probably not the exact analogy, but it's under that kind of category, I would say. So, the band has pushed forward their musical strengths and reinvent themselves into new progressive style, leaving out the ELP like music. So, for you ELP fans, you may enjoy this album as well and you may probably think that "this is what ELP would have done if they still create new album in 2004".

Why is it future oriented? It centers around the story in 2301 A.D. when human civilization is approaching saturation point. The Sahara Desert has been urbanized. No nature is left. The ozone layer has been completely destroyed by air pollution. An artificial sun called Golath is shinning in the dome which covers the earth. All life, except human, is living in the Center of Nature Monument and we can see it on the web. Pipe roads in the deep sea connect each ocean city and countless high-speed elevators go down to the underground city of Metropolis. [source: the band's website]. Of course, it's all imaginary based. But, let's not dwell into the story in detail as we can visit the band's website - get straight to our business : the music.

Introduction - Biogenesis Melt Down

It's an introduction of the whole story with relatively long narration with spacey nuances depicting the scientific laboratory. The symphonic orchestration follows accompanied with lead guitar work by Arjen Lucassen. The keyboard at background provides the symphonic texture of this track. The rather complex keyboard sounds and female chanting have accentuated the imaginary situation the band tries to present. Musically, this track contains complex yet beautiful keyboard sounds that able to create appropriate atmosphere for its futuristic journey.

Escape

It's a less complex song with a medium tempo rhythm section augmented nicely with electric guitar. The vocal line is sung in operatic style combined with wonderful orchestration and complex keyboard / organ sounds in the vein of Keith Emerson (partially). For me personally, the multi keyboard / synthesizer harmony sounds is fantastic. This track has shifting time signatures with complex transitions. The ending part is dominated by keyboard in original rhythm followed by voice line.

Mother Earth

This track has a very nice (and melodic) passage with female takes the lead singer role. The melody that goes with the singing of female singer is wonderful as it has a nuance of traditional homeland cultures. It is sung in English but maintaining the Japanese dialects. For me, it's a kind of "break" before the band brings me to another complex music. Even though it has different structure and nuance, this song reminds me (in such a way) to Steve Hackett's "The Red Flower of Tachai Blooms ." of "Spectral Morning" album in the seventies.

Metamorphosis

As the name implies, this instrumental track has various time signatures exploring the use of keyboard / synthesizer in metamorphosis (of probably the next generation of human beings). The song contains a wild exploration of keyboard / synthesizer works punctuated by some percussion sounds; continued by a full drumming as the full music flows. It satisfies my listening pleasure as it has shifting time signatures. When the music turns to a faster tempo with solo keyboard takes the melody, it reminds me to the work of Rick Wakeman, performed in spacey style. There a re some transition pieces with quieter musical passage. At the end of the track the band puts symphonic flavor to conclude the story this song carries.

Humanoid's Breakfast

It's another break as this track offers a short of situations with a future generation babies. It has a passage of lyrics "Hey mommy, I'm ready" talked in a digitized voice of children. Like previous track, this one explores the keyboard / synthesizer sounds accentuated by human dialogues and screams ..

Against The Meteors

The title itself leads to an imagination of star wars or the kind like that. The organ rhythm at background reminisces Keith Emerson work but accentuated with a keyboard style (at the surface) that Emerson has never played before. It's a stunning exploration of keyboard and synthesizers with drumming sound mixed thinly throughout the track. I can sense a sort of mellotron-like sound at the end of the track. It's a symphonic / spacey style of music.

Trust To the Future

Guitar is brought back here in this track. On intro, the guitar accompanies keyboard sound. The music flows to a very nice passage with English-Japanese singing style by female (it must be the voice of Mika Nakajima). The music turns into a faster tempo with operatic male voice and keyboard played in orchestra style. The music then returns to a slower tempo with male voice; accentuated (and followed by) electric guitar work. This is an excellent composition. The intertwined guitar and synthesizer solos combined with the work of violin has made this track wonderful. Piano sometimes contribute its sound during short transition piece. I think, this is the track where all instruments used in this album demonstrate their obvious solo / sound (including bass guitar). For those of you who like rock opera music, I'm sure you would enjoy this track. And this track is really well positioned at the end of the album. Despite music, the title itself projects a positive image of trusting our future (regardless whatever is happening through a life passage of human beings).

Overall, even though this album is different with any album of ELP, but there are still influence of Keith Emerson here and there. This album is successful to deliver a powerful message on the concept , "thoughts" and "fantasy" the band intends to communicate - through sound exploration and musical nuances. If you like Ayreon "Human Equation" , you may enjoy this album.

On rating, I would tend to give five stars especially if I base my decision on typical rating for Radiohead albums given by colleague reviewers in this page. In my opinion, this album is much better, and much prog, than Radiohead "OK Computer" where many have given five stars. Actually, it's not fair to compare these two bands as they have different kind of music. But when it comes to rating, it's not fair either to give Biogenesis less star than OK Computer. But I think, based on my all listening of prog music, this album deserves four stars. Final judge is yours. Keep on Progging .!!!

Progressively Yours,

GW - Indonesia

Gatot | 4/5 |

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