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Wappa Gappa - Gappa CD (album) cover


Wappa Gappa


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.49 | 19 ratings

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4 stars Japanese band WAPPA GAPPA was formed back in 1992, and over the next 12 years they would release a total of 3 studio productions before either splitting up or entering a state of hiatus. As news from the band stopped sometime in 2004 it's uncertain what the real status actually is. "Gappa" is the bands third and so far last studio production, and was jointly released by Intermusic and Musea Records in 2004.

And it is a fairly innovative creation we're dealing with in this case, and a rather sophisticated entity to boot. It is also a testimony to the fact that challenging, creative music doesn't need to be hard on the ears and the brain, as this band manage to craft accessible compositions without losing the innovative edge and groundbreaking features.

Their style is perhaps the part of the proceedings hardest to describe in an accurate manner, although a word like eclectic does come to main rather quickly when listening through this CD. There's a subtle but distinct jazz orientation to their endeavours, with bass guitar and to some extent drums catering for this part of the total package. On the other hand, the keyboards and organ used throughout adds a symphonic sheen to the proceedings, while the guitars ventures closer into an expression fans of early 80's King Crimson might recognize.

Of course, it's the manner in which these different instruments are assembled and utilized which makes this special. And the compositions all share some features. One of them is that some parts of each composition is of a fairly accessible nature. More purebred symphonic oriented with a firm hold on harmonies most often, occasionally with a fusion orientation for these passages. Other parts are fairly challenging in nature, combining the diversity previously described in challenging movements, where differing levels of intensity and tonal range utilized see to it that the different stylistic expressions somehow does manage to combine into a whole. And a major asset that manage to assemble the various musical details at odds with each other into a contextual whole are the lead vocals of Yamamoto. Her distinct, melodic delivery adds a smooth coating to the proceedings that is a vital ingredient in this peculiar mix.

The end result is a rather unique blend of challenging art rock, symphonic progressive rock and fusion. With a number of nuances and details catering for the challenging aspects, while the latter two tends to be somewhat more up front and thus leading to compositions that retain an accessible nature despite seeking out new musical grounds to cover. And as such a production that merits a check by those who are fond of innovative progressive rock as well as by liberal minded symphonic art rock and fusion enthusiasts.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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