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TEE (The Earth Explorer) - The Earth Explorer CD (album) cover


TEE (The Earth Explorer)


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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 01. L'oiseau Bleu (Trans Europ Express) ~ Departing For The Future ~

First, one thing must be said. Soon the record initiatey we seem to be listening to a forgotten recordc from 70's, blame the perfect choice of sounds for the instruments. Me, being a bass player 'came particularly pleased with the sound from bass of Yukio Iigahama. The funny thing is that at various times the quiet and introspective sound of the band reminded me of some other sound, but not a specific sound, I imagine that this is due because the band seems to have a lot of influences, like VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, YES, PINK FLOYD, KING CRIMSON and FOCUS, just to name a few of them. Beautiful guitar lines of Katsumi Yoneda with light nuances worked well with the keyboards from Ryuji Yonekura and flutes from Kenji Imai. Meanwhile back there are the drums from Takayuki Asada.

02. Exotic Landscpae Nomad ~ ~

Complex, urgent, and still beautiful! This band got it all at one time that 70's have been rediscovered, but all give their 'personal touch' to them, is no different in this case, however, here the 70's are revisited in a perfect manner, but not as a copy, but as if the band had gone directly from that decade. Awesome! Beautiful acoustic passage in the second half of the song. Calm and beautiful. It's amazing the approach that Kenji have on his flute, completely different from all the pipers of prog I've ever heard. Innovative!

03. Sirocco Chase ~ Sailing For The Mystic Palace ~

A theme which begins infectious, full of emotion, and gradually becomes beautiful and emotional. Here the guitars from Katsumi are the highlight, melodics and beautiful lines. At the end of the song it becomes full of power again and the flute takes over the theme.

04. Col De L'Iseran ~ Arduous Path Of Makind ~

Here we have the synthesizer for the first time in the album, another thing you'll notice right away is the rhythm completely broken. The band recorded vocals in this track, which in my opinion was extremely interesting, they can bet more on this on the next album will be perfect. Just over two minutes, the sound of water and beautiful guitar bring peace to the listener. The end of the track brings about a circus, or at least a good music festival. Wonderful theme!

05. Aurora ~ Breath Of The Earth ~

A calm piece, as the name suggests, this song reminded me somewhat of the themes used in anime (japanes cartoons), they managed to depict landscapes that song, just as the record name and track suggests. At four minutes a fantastic bass line and a piano and guitar in the background that 'scream' as guitar and drums make the track sound naturally. Intriguing keyboards in six and a half minutes, a kind of 'sound of the fairies', which came in handy with the rest of the band's sound. It's amazing how much the band knew how to choose the sounds for the album.

06. City ~ Land Of The Living ~

I believe the more 'fusion' track of the album. Guitar and flute doubling the same line as drums and bass sound 'wrecked' with its bars very strabge to our ears. Four minutes, all the instruments stop suddenly, only the bass like a timeline in a continuous note, at least until the flute begins to 'roar'. What you hear then it is a theme in a broken time and with virtually all instruments doubling the main melody. And so ended one of the best surprises I've heard this year and in recent years.

The band knew exactly how to dose the record, just over 47 minutes in length with 6 tracks. And which usually bothers me, the lack of vocals, here goes unnoticed because the group 'sings' with the instruments and tastes great as well as choose the sounds of them. As I said earlier in the text, the band does not emulate the sound of the 70s, the band came out of the 70's, even if it is not true. A great listening for all lovers of progressive rock!

4,5 stars!

Report this review (#251540)
Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars TEE (The Earth Explorer) is a Japanese quintet and one of the more enjoyable instrumental outfits I've heard this year. Although some of the compositions are a bit immature, the performances themselves are very good, and evoke memories of Camel and Genesis.

"L'Oiseau Bleu" Right off the bat, this piece sort of reminded me of some of the jazzier material from Kansas's Audio-Visions. It relies heavily on very good piano interludes and has some lovely flute for good measure. The composition itself is largely kept on the simplistic side, but multiple instruments give it the air of coherent complexity.

"Nomad" Flute and electric guitar doing two separate things make for a more complex and involved piece of music. It soon becomes a flute-led work, with an extended solo that has an almost Celtic feel at times. Changing pace again, the piece adopts light piano, acoustic guitar, and allows the bass guitar to carry the melody before the flute joins in once more, making me think of "Cadence and Cascade," one of my favorite King Crimson songs. The final couple of minutes brings an upbeat passage that I don't think fits in with the rest of the music for two reasons: For one, the chord progression is ridiculously cliché, and second, they almost ruin an otherwise fine piece with irritating and repetitive synthesizer lead that drowns out the guitar solo and doesn't supplement it well anyway.

"Sirocco Chase" Dynamic bass provides a good foundation for some well-crafted electric guitar and flute passages. This piece is a great example of symphonic jazz, blending the two genres rather seamlessly, and incorporating some fine drumming to top it all off.

"Col De L'iseran" This merry piece involves vocals to a degree, juxtaposing jaunty sections with more symphonic passages. It gives way to acoustic guitar and synthesizer, a combination I tend to love. During the second half, it becomes a flute-led instrumental folk piece complete with a happy bass alternating between the root and the fifth.

"Aurora" Quite similar to a post-Gabriel Genesis instrumental (although featuring a flute), this is a lovely piece, even if the transitions leave much to be desired. Once again the flute and guitar work quite well doing two separate things, but as a whole, this composition is rather slapdash and therefore not nearly as good as some of the others.

"City" For the final track, the band uses the flute and electric guitar once more to a great effect, reminding me of "Supertwister" by Camel. Also once more, the transitions are fairly nonexistent, with the next part of the piece just happening with nothing leading to it. Still, each part is good nonetheless.

Report this review (#256715)
Posted Friday, December 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Earth Explorer started under the name ''Euro Express'' in 2005 in Tokyo, Japan as a cover band of European Progressive Rock, led by Kenji Imai on flute, Ryuji Yonekura on keyboards (also of Interpose+), Yukio Iigahama on bass and Katsumi Yoneda on guitar with drummer Takayuki Asada joining later.Since 2006 they were renamed to The Earth Explorer, focusing on writing original material.A first taste of their music was launched in 2007 through a CD-R by Vital Records entitled ''The first voyage''.After several live performances The Earth Explorer recorded their official self-titled debut at the fall of 2008, reducing their name simply to TEE.The album was released in 2009 on the Japanese label Poseidon for the Japanese market and on Musea Records for the European one.

The style of TEE is a dynamic, intricate, all instrumental Symphonic Rock with notable CAMEL, JETHRO TULL and FOCUS influences, although occasionally the band explores more Fusion territories, especially through the virtuosic guitar playing of Katsumi Yoneda.With six long tracks, TEE move with comfort between melodic passages and delicate textures to complex time signatures and powerful interplays, while the performance of the group is absolutely solid and tight.This is one of the albums, where the flutist plays a main role...and definitely Kenji Imai has a pair of fresh lungs.His long runs and extended solos are present in every corner and in every track, usually adding a quite symphonic and delicate flavor to the music.The closest comparison from the Japanese scene are KENSO and maybe AIN SOPH (during the more melodic moments), but TEE have certainly a more symphonic-oriented sound.Some fair doses of nice keyboard performances by Ryuji Yonekura and the technical guitar chops of Yoneda are also worth mentioning, while the band seems to have a great love for the 70's with ''The Earth Explorer'' respecting the vintage stylings of their idols.A few laid-back parts are also placed among the energetic and complicated stuff with mellow acoustic guitars and, of course, Imai's flute leading the way.

An excellent entry from Japan.Flute-driven Symphonic Rock with a decent balance between melodic and extremely technical moments.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1010156)
Posted Friday, August 2, 2013 | Review Permalink

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