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Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Symphonic Suite Akira CD (album) cover

SYMPHONIC SUITE AKIRA

Geinoh Yamashirogumi

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.04 | 4 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars I'm everything but a fan of Manga and/or Anime, but the movie of which this is the soundtrack was a good cyberpunk, even quite complicated in the plot and I remember to have enjoyed it. Also the soundtrack catched my attention.

Recently I have discovered that it was composed by Geinoh Yamashirogumi, and that this is the name of a band, not of an obscure Japanese artist.

This album has the limits of any soundtrack: all the tracks are disconnected and each one represents a different situation of the movie, but each track is strong enough to be able to live on its ownn.

The first two tracks are full of percussions and are between the traditional Japanese and techno-industrial.

"Winds Over Neo-Tokio" is the first highlight. A slow electronic which sounds a little krautrock.

"Tetsuo" starts with cymbals and traditional instruments (I suppose). If it wasn't for the rhythm and the melodic line that are not properly ethnic, it would be similar to the Indonesian Barong. Try to imagine Oldfield's tubular bells entirely played by tubular bells. It changes a bit when percussions join the cymbals. I can hear echoes of Tangerine Dream or Vangelis, even if no keyboards seem to be present. The more it proceeds the more it's intriguing. The second highlight; and this time is over 10 minutes long. The last minute is parossistic and should be listened to at high volume.

"Doll's Polyphony" is experimental. It's built by mixing female voiced spelling all the same word with different pitches. they do with voices what in the previous track was made with cymbals. When male voices arrive it finishes as a choral suite.

"Shomyoh" is opened by various noises and voices like in a market in the Samurai age. Then voices like in a Gregorian chant but spelling what seems to be Japanese have a weird impact. Female voices join to create an unusual athmosphere that is very appropriate to the movie's environment. Switch off the lights and put your headphones on.

"Mutation" is more chaotic, still voices and percussions but in a dark and rhythmic mood. It makes me think to the chaotic part of Vangelis' Heaven and Hell (Heavy-Aries-Heaven). As in that track with Vana Veroutis, after a small portion of silence a female choir with a solist replaces the darkness of the first part.

The first track to sound just like an electronic piece is "Exodus From The Underground Fortress" on which we can hear keyboards and electric guitar together with percussions and various noises. Lovers of Krautrock will be pleased by it. The harp reminds a bit to Vollenweider but this can't be called newage. The only "easy" track of the whole album.

"Illusion" is opened by soft keyboard with spare cymbals. I think to Edgar Froese or Vangelis again (in particular "City"). After few relaxing minutes it turns into the "No" theatre, maybe: A voice like somebody making a manual work, a rhytmic percussion and a pan flute or something similar. This is very Japanese, I think. It continues in this way until the end. A bit boring in this part, specially compare dto the excellent initial part, but it fits well into the album.

"Requiem" is started by very heavy funeral drums and a cymbal sounding like a bell. When it stops an ethereal choir still reminds to Vangelis' Heaven and Hell. The choir is then followed by an organ. Effectively it sounds like a requiem in classical sense. The organ is "disturbed" by some unexpected percussions before startin to sound louder, as a church organ. The percussions behind are again reminding to the chaotic section of Heaven and Hell. When the male solist sings on dissonant notes it's quite scary, like a black sabbath. I don't think this was the desired effect. The voice is full of pain. Probably is my western culture that makes me think to something so "negative". The solist is suffering for somebody's death. This is a requiem. The choir then replaces the organ but the transision is soft so you can take a while to realize that the organ has disappeared. Then percussions join.... This is the highest moment of this album.

Not an easy listening really, but with enough patience it's not too much challenging and is, I think, different from everything else. Even with all the points of contact and similarities with electronic prog and krautrock it's totally original and includes traditional elements. It's an excellent album even for those who haven't seen the movie.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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