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Outer Limits - A Boy Playing The Magical Bugle Horn CD (album) cover


Outer Limits

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars A boy playing the magical bugle horn is the second offering by japanese band Outer Limits. The album was released in 1986 and is a good follow up to the predecesor Misty moon from 1985. Not very much to add here, just this album is almost in the same vein with the album from '85 but with even more aproach to symphonic prog. In places this symphonic prog elements are combined very well with opera singing, creating a real treat for prog listners, an atmosphere that is in same time very dark but also very intristing and catchy- the perfect example is Liris. Well, my fav piece from here is the opening track Magical blue horn , the best from here, delivering some very intristing bass lines combined very well with excellent key passages made by Shusei Tsukamoto, the violin of Takashi Kawaguchi is brillint not far from (UK, Danger money era) but with a crimsonesque touch here and there, a good and strong example of Japan '80's prog music. The rest of the pieces are above average, even in that times , '80's, prog was something only for conoseurs, and surviving only in underground. With this release, and the first one, Outer Limits knock back at everything they stoped from being one of the best prog bands from Japan and why not from world. Not a weak piece here, and not a step down from the first album, this is another 4 star for this important band from Japan, I enjoy very much listning to thier first 3 albums, excellent and inventive albums in a tough period for progressive music.
Report this review (#184480)
Posted Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In 1986 Made in Japan Records released Outer Limit's sophomore effort titled ''A boy playing the magical bugle horn''.From the liner notes it appears that this was a fantasy concept, written by drummer Nobuyuki Sakurai.Sakurai along with Tomoki Ueno, Shusei Tsukamoto, Takashi Kawaguchi and Takashi Aramaki were the band's regular members, although the album features appearances by Tadashi Sugimoto on contrabass plus a pronounced string section with Masako Hara, Yuko Sato and Yumiko Koakutu guesting on violins and cello.Kaoru Shimohara, Seiichi Furukawa and Fumiaki Ikoma are three more guests, who contributed backing vocals.

A more dominant string section, the heavy presence of soaring synthesizers and the display of a concept via regular or distorted vocals and narrations show a turn by the band from the very ethereal style of their debut to a more dark and mysterious sound with plenty of KING CRIMSON and U.K. similarities, although touches of THE ENID and GENESIS are still apparent.The romantic soundscapes and symphonic textures are now partially replaced by haunting violin-driven arrangements with a Chamber Music feel and a more complex guitar presence with ROBERT FRIPP overtones.The talent is there, name to me a set of bands, which could actually combine symphonic tunes with technical power and sinister atmospheric values, still I miss the band's impressive melodies and constant cinematic edges from ''Misty moon''.In fact it's hard to believe that in 1986 a group could launch such a complex symphonic effort, Outer Limits did so however, sacrificing a grandiose sound for darker and more bombastic ideas.The concept though seems like a good reason for combining Film Score-like Music, orchestral arrangements, KING CRIMSON-esque Prog and storytelling vocals, some moments are quite excellent, but as a whole this effort sounds a little inconsistent plus the vocals are too melodramatic and theatrical without any particular color.

A bit of a letdown compared to the band's magnificent debut.Still a valuable work of 80's Prog, extremely intricate and instrumentally challenging with a strong theatrical taste.For fans of U.K., GENESIS and KING CRIMSON.Warmly recommended.

Report this review (#1358637)
Posted Sunday, February 1, 2015 | Review Permalink

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