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Asturias - Circle In The Forest CD (album) cover

CIRCLE IN THE FOREST

Asturias

Neo-Prog


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kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars New age music's peak of popularity, chiefly among child-rearing former prog fans, coincided with the advent of corporate microcomputing in the late 1980s. Some musicians comfortable in all these realms were also fans of MIKE OLDFIELD's late 70s and early 80s works, and one of the more accomplished such groups was Japan's ASTURIAS. "Circle in the Forest" was their debut, a blend of often beautiful themes occasionally stunted by cold production and an apparent need to incorporate non musical programming in erstwhile musical arrangements.

The high points are generally where the captivating main theme of this album is expounded upon, in "Angel Tree" and the latter 12 minutes of the sprawling title cut, which is like a combination of the stormier parts of "Hergest Ridge" and the minimalism of "Incantations". But "Ryu-Hyo", which opens the proceedings, provides some fine piano rolls and simple melodic guitar figures that raise it above and beyond most of the better new age recordings of the time, and more firmly into the realm of the progressive.

The weaker tracks are the robotic "Clairvoyance", where the machines take a bit too much charge, although again here some fine lead guitars prevail, and the similarly frosty "Tightrope".

The juxtaposition of crystalline somewhat synthetic arrangements and natural themes is not unknown in Japanese music. One need only name KITARO among many others, but ASTURIAS' "Circle in the Forest" is worth a look if you like simple melodies that are allowed fruitful if not full expression. True, sometimes the circle is sonically portrayed as a loop with a deficient exit condition, in programming parlance, but at least it's pretty.

Report this review (#214728)
Posted Sunday, May 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Japanese band - ASTÚRIAS - (commanded by the multi-instrumentalist Yoh Ohyama) in his first studio work Circle in the Forest", presents a sonority that varies of NewAge (influenced mainly by KITARO & MIKE OLDFIELD) and for the Jazz-Prog in the style of bands as, for instance KENSO. Actually, most of the time this mixture doesn't happen inside of the same track, this mix comes separately: TRACK 1 "Ryo Hyo", presents a New Age in the best style KITARO, already TRACK 2 "Clairvoyance" possesses a very close melodic line of the sonority of the band KENSO associate to MIKE OLDFIELD'S sound, TRACK 3 "Angel Tree" seems it was inspired for the Swiss guitarist's chords ALEX DE GRASSI (WILDHAMM HILL RECORDS), TRACK 4 repeats TRACK 2 and it presents as prominence a fantastic guitar solo. TRACK 5 reminds one of the 4 parts (I admit that in the moment I don't remember which of the 4 parts) of the disk "Incantations" of MIKE OLDFIELD ( for me reminded too even and I found an exaggerating copy, to the point of in the final climax to also present a female vocal choir, almost identical to the of the mentioned disk). Thisis is the only flaw of the disk ´although of considering it very good (including the last track0.. My rate i 4 stars!!!
Report this review (#292870)
Posted Saturday, July 31, 2010 | Review Permalink

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